Bengali films best, but lack branding: CM Mamata Banerjee


The Bengali cinema is the “best in the world” though it lacks a strong branding, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Monday.

Inaugurating the 27th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in the city, the CM appealed for considering the Bengali cinema as an industry and directed the top government officials to call film investors from across the country to the next edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit that concluded recently.

She also asked veteran actor and Trinamool Congress MP Shatrughan Sinha, who was the chief guest at the film festival, to draw investors from Bollywood to invest in the Bengali cinema. Sinha, a former BJP Union minister, was recently elected from the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency.

Thirty six international movies will be screened at the Nazrul Tirtha centre from April 26 to May 1 as part of the film festival.

“The Bengali cinema has its place of pride. This is the reason why these many foreign filmmakers agreed to come here to participate in the film festival. Finland specially came with a lot of films that we will showcase here,” the CM said. Also, a simultaneous exhibition on the life and works of Satyajit Ray will be held at the Nandan and Nazrul Tirtha centres. It will be inaugurated on April 26 by KIFF chairman Raj Chakraborty. This is the concluding year of Ray’s birth centenary. The birth centenary programme of Ray could not be held due to the pandemic.

Banerjee said, “We created a film museum which will also help showcase our film culture. The Bengali cinema has a huge talent pool while Bollywood has lots of money and investors. If Bengali films can get that, they will also achieve a certain level. I will request Shatrughan ji to help the Bengali film industry by bringing more investments from Bollywood.” The films, she said, have the potential to earn revenues. “Livelihoods of a number of people are directly linked with this industry. We forgot to include film industry in our business summit. Moreover, Bengal is bestowed with scenic landscapes for film shoots,” she said.