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Image Credit: Joy Dasgupta and Sourav Saha

Bengali cinema is celebrating its centenary and a bevy of stars have descended upon the UAE to mark the occasion.

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Image Credit: Joy Dasgupta and Sourav Saha

Bongo Probashi Milap 2018 (BPM) saw a gala opening at Shaikh Rashid Auditorium, Indian High School, on November 30 as a musical entertainment programme was staged to serve as the precursor to a two-day film festival starting on December 1 at Dubai College Auditorium in Al Sufouh. The festival — organised by the Dubai Chapter of St Xavier’s College Calcutta Alumni Association — was formally declared open by Vipul, the Consul General of India in Dubai, in the presence of Father Dominic Savio, the principal of St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, and other dignitaries.

BPM is an initiative to showcase the best that Bengal has to offer in terms of its entertainment industry.

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Image Credit: Joy Dasgupta and Sourav Saha

Three biggest draws of contemporary Bengali cinema — Prosenjit Chatterjee, who is also the brand ambassador for BPM, Rituparna Sen Gupta and Srabanti Chatterjee — added a bit of razzmatazz to the show conceptualised and conducted by Pallavi Chatterjee, Prosenjit’s sister.

Yesterday’s curtain-raiser also featured actors Ankush Hazra, Oindrila Sen, Saheb Bhattacharya, singers Nikita Gandhi, Babul Supriyo and singer-composer Jeet Ganguly.

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Image Credit: Joy Dasgupta and Sourav Saha

While there was no dearth of the glamour quotient at the opening ceremony, what added an element of chutzpah to the evening’s proceedings was a comedy quartet comprising Mir Afsar Ali (Mir), Ambarish Bhattacharya, Kanchan Mullick and Biswanath Basu. The witty one-liners, sometimes bordering on the slapstick and at times even rib-tickling, were thoroughly soaked up by the capacity crowd, even as the Prosenjit-Rituparna duo regaled the audience with generous dollops of their fabled on-screen chemistry as they went about the choreographed song-and-dance sequences with aplomb.

However, the high-point of the evening’s proceedings was Ganguly’s performance as he brought the audience to its feet, literally, belting out some of his chartbuster Hindi and Bengali compositions.