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Today we speak about pluralism…something India has always celebrated: Shabana Azmi

The eight-day Kolkata International Film festival started on November 8 and concluded on Friday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and acclaimed actress Shabana Azmi were present at the closing ceremony.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
November 16, 2019 12:27:41 pm
Today we speak about pluralism...something India has always celebrated: Shabana Azmi Actor Shabana Azmi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the closing ceremony of 25th Kolkata International Film Festival at Nazrul Mancha in the state capital on Friday. (Express photo: Partha Paul)

The 25th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) came to a close on Saturday with Guatemalan movie ‘La Llorona’ (The Weeping Woman) directed by Jayro Bustamante winning the best film in Innovation in Moving Images (international competition) category. The movie was given the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh at the festival held at Nazrul Mancha.

The eight-day Kolkata International Film festival started on November 8 and concluded on Friday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and acclaimed actress Shabana Azmi were present at the closing ceremony.

Czech filmmaker Vaclav Marhoul received the best director award in the same category for the movie Navarbene Ptace (The Painted Bird). Special jury award on the international competition category went to Shpia E Ages (Aga’s House).

In the Indian Language’s Films competition, the Hiralal Sen Memorial award for best film went to the movie ‘Mai Ghat Crime Number 103-2005’ (Crime Number 103-2005) directed by Ananth Mahadevan, while director Indrasish Acharya got the best director award in the same category for his movie “Parcel”.

The NETPAC award went to Aditya Kripalani’s movie “The Goddess and the Hero”.

Banerjee praised Azmi for her expression about unity and diversity. “I do appreciate Shabana ji for her expression about unity and diversity, which is our country’s origin and freedom of expression. We used to love it. I must say that in today’s time we need freedom of speech and expression. We used to love it because without freedom of expression nobody has the right to speak or work. So, nowadays it is very much required and we feel that in future too, with the help of all the citizens of this country, we will uphold our Constitution, our constitutional and democratic rights,” said Banerjee.

Thanking all the spectators who turned up at KIFF, the chief minister said, “I appreciate all the directors, international jury, friends and my country people for making it to the event. Your presence has made Kolkata International Film festival a successful. I request all of you please do not forget us, do come again. Without you we would have not been able to put up a great show.”

Banerjee added, “Cinema is the mirror to the society, any step to curb the freedom of expression must be resisted.”

Meanwhile, Azmi emphasised the need of pluralism and inclusiveness in the country. “Today we speak about pluralism and composite culture — it is something India has always celebrated. Today we hear the word inclusiveness from world leaders. We in India know that the Indian Constitution guarantees this inclusiveness. India celebrates its diversity and its inclusiveness,” Azmi said.

“I was raised in a family, which believed art should be used as an instrument of social change. Cinema is such a medium, which has the power to open a window from where we learn about other cultures. Cinema is the focal point of such diversity. We should consider subjects, which are considered taboos by society,” she added.

She further said, “There is need for freedom of expression in our country. Art should be given freedom of expression. Cinema has the ability to create a climate of sensitivity. Purpose of art is not only to create but to start conversation about topics that are considered taboos by the society.”

The award-winning actress informed that she is working with Steven Spielberg.

“I am working with Steven Speilberg. I have directly come from Budapest to attend the closing ceremony of Kolkata International Film Festival. I have been coming to the festival since its inception,” the actress said.

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