The inauguration of the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) on Saturday had its share of lighter moments when megastar Amitabh Bachchan said he has become too frequent at this event and does not have anything new to speak of.
Bachchan, like another Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, has made regular appearances in the inaugural programmes for the past several editions of the KIFF.
A peal of laughter rose from the audience as the Big-B earnestly pleaded, in Bengali, to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to excuse him at the next edition of the KIFF.
“I am here again. Had pleaded repeatedly to CM Mamata Banerjee please stop inviting me again, but she never listens. So I am here,” Bachchan said with a mischievous smile.
Stating that since the CM had earlier not heeded to his pleas he was now shifting to Bengali, Bachchan said, “Mamataji antoto ebar sunun. Aar parbo na ma. Rakkha korun (Mamataji please listen to me now. Please madam spare me from now on),” he said prompting another bout of laughter.
Banerjee, who was sitting on the podium among other dignitaries including Bachchan’s wife Jaya, shook her head rejecting the pleas.
Later, during her speech, Banerjee said, “Let me say Bachchanji you have to come next year again as it will be the 25th year of KIFF.”
Turning to Shah Rukh Khan, she said, “Shah Rukh will also have to come. He is my brother. It is a connection between brother and sister. We will seek guidance from both Amitji and SRK about how to conduct the next edition of KIFF, which is the 25th, in a grand way. We should start preparation from now.”