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Kolkata Film Fest Finds Many Critics Over Mamata Banerjee's Poster Frenzy

15 November, 2018 3:26 PM
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Kolkata Film Fest Finds Many Critics Over Mamata Banerjee's Poster Frenzy

The 24th Kolkata International Film Festival got off to a starry start on Wednesday with movie stars Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Waheeda Rehman sharing the stage with the host, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

But innumerable giant photos of Mamata Banerjee plastered at the popular main venue of the festival - the Nandan Auditorium Complex - has sparked a debate, especially after a filmmaker was publicly critical about "excess" at a panel discussion at the venue itself.

Mamata Banerjee has never made a film. So why are her photos plastered all over the place? That's what many film buffs are asking.

One of the most critical comments came from Anik Dutta, a filmmaker known for his hugely successful film 'Bhooter Bhobbishot' that released in 2012.

He was invited to a panel discussion at the film festival venue. The topic was, 'Who makes a film - the producer or director'. Mr Dutta said, if the venue of the Kolkata film festival is anything to go by, then it is the political person whose portraits are plastered all over.

"When I walked in through the gates, I saw the Nandan logo designed by Satyajit Ray hemmed in by big flexes with someone's face - a political leader not related to films. When I went for a panel discussion, I just aired my view in a humorous way," Mr Dutta told NDTV.

"I said if someone comes to Nandan today, he or she might think that there is only one person who makes the films here," he said, adding, "We are used to it in the rest of the city. But at the film festival venue, I didn't like it and said so."

His comments triggered a storm on social media, with bouquets and brickbats flying.

But many messages were congratulatory, applauded his criticism as "a brave act" and mocked the government.

Mr Dutta is astonished. "I don't know why I should be congratulated for simply speaking my mind," he said.

Vox populi at the film festival venue were much more polite than on social media.

Upcoming actor Gautam Maitra said, "It's a matter of pride that we are having this festival here only because of this lady and we are very proud of the fact that she is the backbone... so the pictures. But a little less would have been pleasing to the eye."

Saran Kumar Dey, a visitor, found nothing wrong with the Mamata Banerjee pictures all over. "Why should they be an eyesore... It's an exposure for her. After all, it's her brain-work," he said.

His friend Moushumi said, "Mamata Banerjee has turned the film festival into such a glamorous event and she deserves the credit. But filmmakers and film stars should have got more space."


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