The Kolkata Film Festival that was inaugurated on Saturday by Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has run into controversy with veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee choosing not to attend.
Mr Chatterjee, this year's Dadasaheb Phalke awardee reportedly received no delegate card and only a last minute invite to the opening ceremony.
Mr Chatterjee, one of Bengali cinema's best known and most acclaimed actors, told IANS that the film festival was "losing its character and seriousness" following the shift of the inauguration ceremony from the traditional state-run Nandan Auditorium.
"Have you ever heard any film festival being inaugurated at a stadium? The film festival is losing its character and seriousness. It is a film festival and not a circus," said Mr Chatterjee who was late director Satyajit Ray's frequent collaborator.
"The festival like before should be inaugurated at the Nandan (auditorium). Let's not belittle it by moving away from tradition," added Mr Chatterjee.
After coming to power in 2011, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government took the hitherto "elitist" Kolkata International Film Festival closer to masses by shifting the venue of inaugural ceremony to the Netaji Indoor Stadium from Nandan auditorium.
A brain child of former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the Kolkata International Film Festival used to be a somber affair with a low key inauguration, attended mostly participated by critically acclaimed filmmakers.
But Mr Banerjee has added glamour to the festival, inviting Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Sharmila Tagore to throw open the event. (With IANS inputs)