Actor Shah Rukh Khan on Friday inaugurated the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival at a packed Netaji Indoor stadium.
Flanked by actress Rakhi Gulzar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and actress Srabonti Chatterjee, Khan lit the ceremonial lamp to cheers from the audience.
Oscar-winning German director Volker Schlondorff, ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’ actress Andie MacDowell and Slovak filmmaker Dusan Hanak also graced the occasion, alongside Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt and BCCI President and former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.
Also in attendance was Madhabi Mukherjee, known internationally for portraying the title role in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Charulata’, actor MPs Nusrat Jahan, Mimi Chakraborty, Shatabdi Roy and Deb Adhikary, besides directors Goutam Ghosh and Sandip Ray.
At the event, Khan confessed that he has been in love with MacDowell since he was young.
“It’s just so that nobody else knows, and don’t tell anyone, I love you. I loved you since I was 26 years old,” said Khan as MacDowell smiled.
“I’ve been madly in love with you, so thank you Kolkata for giving me this opportunity to sit next to Andie MacDowell,” the 54-year-old actor added.
Born on April 21, 1958, MacDowell is seven years older than Khan.
She received critical acclaim for her role in Steven Soderbergh’s 1989 film ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’, which won her the Independent Spirit Award as Best Female Lead and also saw her being nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama category.
She also received Golden Globe nominations for her performances in ‘Green Card’ (1990) and ‘Four Weddings and A Funeral’ (1994).
The film festival opening began with a montage of the history of cinema, followed by a short promotional film on Bengal’s film locations made by Parambrata Chatterjee.
Nusrat Jahan presented the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival commemoration trophy to Khan.
A palette of 214 feature films and 152 shorts and documentaries from 76 nations will be screened during the eight-day gala.
Satyajit Ray’s children’s classic ‘Goopy Gayen Bagha Bayen’ — celebrating its 50th year — is the opening film.