Soumitra slams govt for turning KIFF into ‘circus’

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Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee on Sunday slammed the Trinamool-Congress government for making the latest edition of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) a "circus", which he said was not acceptable to the film conoisseurs of the city.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the film festival organised by Cine Central of Kolkata. Noted film personalities, including Mrinal Sen and Girish Kasaravally, were present at the event.

"There can be a change in the government but the character of the film festival cannot change. The film festival cannot turn into a circus or a carnival. If it is so, then it cannot be accepted,'' Chatterjee said.

Later speaking to The Indian Express, the actor who did not attend the inaugural ceremony of KIFF despite getting an invitation, said he was appalled by the manner in which the festival began. "Have you ever seen a film festival inaugurated at a sports stadium. It is said this has been done to bring in more people. Now, they have all come to see Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan and disappeared soon after they left the venue. The film festival had a character, the inaugural ceremony used to be a solemn occasion. It became a circus, a carnival,'' Chatterjee said.

"If you can remember 20 years ago, people used to stand in queues in the wee hours of morning to see a film by Godard. Who were those people who came to watch the ceremony yesterday. It was ridiculous,'' fumed Chatterjee, one of the most accomplished actors of India who featured in several of Satyajit Ray's films.

Both Chatterjee and Mrinal Sen are considered to be close to the Marxists, especially former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. At Sunday's event, Sen did not make any controversial remarks and instead advised Kasaravally to make shorter films.

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