Kolkata, Dec 5 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that no force could divide the country, emphasising that people of all religions, castes, and creeds would remain united as a collective expression of love for the motherland.
Banerjee made these remarks during the inaugural session of the 29th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), attended by a galaxy of actors from Bollywood and the city.
Responding to a statement by Trinamool Congress MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha, who urged good people to enter politics, Banerjee echoed the sentiment.
“Shatrughan Sinha Ji was saying that we should not be afraid of anyone. Yes, we should be afraid of none; no power can divide us. All the religions, castes, and creeds will stay united, as all of us love the country,” the chief minister said.
Banerjee, without naming anyone, emphasised the importance of continuing the ideological struggle.
The inaugural session featured prominent figures such as superstar Salman Khan, actors Anil Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, and West Bengal’s newly appointed brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian cricket captain.
Turning to Khan and Kapoor, Banerjee said, “If you want to give something to Bengal, make Bengal your future film destination… Go to Birbhum, go to Darjeeling, Kalimpong…. There are so many places in Bengal as tourist locations.” In reply, Khan said, “I never break my promise. If I give a promise for shooting, I will come,” eliciting thunderous applause from the crowd.
The chief minister also urged Khan to attend the next film festival.
“You will come for Raksha Bandhan. None is as hospitable and warm as Bengal,” she said.
During the programme, Sinha stressed the need for “good people” to engage in politics, highlighting the importance of preventing individuals with ill intentions from holding power.
He remarked: “We want good people to join politics. Because if good people don’t join politics, then we should be ready to be governed by the bad people.” Bhatt lauded Banerjee and said she has been gambling on togetherness and humanity.
“Mamata Ji, you are gambling on humanity, togetherness and love all the time. More power to you. Love is the only revenge. And for us, we filmmakers, our camera, our stories, our actors are only tools to break the chains of division,” the veteran filmmaker said.
Bhatt, a regular in KIFF, said cinema is for him a journey for continuous discovery, of exploration. A quest for exploring the unknown.
Khan, who inaugurated the 29th KIFF, said he was thrilled to learn this is one of the largest film festivals in the world with 219 films screened in 23 locations.
Khan, Bhatt, Kapoor, cricket icon Sourav Ganguly – everyone paid rich tributes to the creative film-makers of the state – Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Tarun Majumder, Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and others.
Banerjee was seen shaking a leg alongside Bollywood celebrities Khan, Sinha, Bhatt, and Kapoor as they enthusiastically grooved to the rhythm of the KIFF theme song.
After the ceremony, matinee idol Uttam Kumar starrer 50s classic ‘Deya Neya’ was screened before around 10,000 audience at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
The 29th KIFF, scheduled from December 5 to 12 across 23 venues in the city, will showcase a total of 219 movies from 39 countries.
Spain will be the festival’s focus country, featuring six contemporary works from the Spanish cinema.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)