Gems of Indian cinema Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mithun Chakraborty and Kamal Haasan came together Sunday with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) here.
Big B, Jaya, Haasan, Mithu and Shah Rukh led the ceremonial lamp lighting and veterans from Bengali cinema, including actor and guest of honour Prosenjit Chatterjee, followed suit at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Distinguished guests, including filmmaker Sandip Ray, Bengali film actress Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, Dipankar Dey and music director Dwijen Mukherjee, also participated in the lamp lighting that concluded with Big B releasing the brochure of the fest.
Seen in the star-studded audience were actors Konkona Sen Sharma, singer Usha Uthup, actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen and former Indian football captain P.K. Banerjee.
Actors of the regional film industry Dev and Koel Mallick felicitated Big B with an uttariya (scarf) and a metal-cast memento. The other luminaries were welcomed subsequently in a similar manner.
Jaya, looking stunning in a bright red silk sari, was seen chatting with Banerjee who also exchanged words with Shah Rukh, looking dapper in a black-grey tuxedo and neat ponytail.
Gracing the occasion were noted Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, Turkish director Reha Erdem and other international delegates. As the 19th KIFF will highlight south-east Asian cinema, the majority of delegates were from the region.
The star-spangled evening was pepped up by Bengali stars June Maliah and Jisshu Sengupta's energy-infusing emceeing skills.
Injecting a dose of nostalgia into the evening was creative dancer Sukalyann Bhattacharya with his entourage relaying the evolution of a century of Indian cinema through the 10-minute opening act 'Down Memory Lane'.
The stage transformed itself with posters, black and white film reels, light reflectors, trolleys as 100 dancers, including children, took to the stage with cult songs from Hindi and Bengali films playing in the background.
Divided into three segments, the choreography spanned across landmark moments in Indian cinema beginning with the first full-length feature film "Raja Harishchandra" in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke.
The first scene of the act featured a shooting scene in the old days using black-and-white silhouettes.
The entire journey was jazzed up with Chinese lion dancers prancing around on the stage.