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Mamata’s cast & SRK’s call

- Wish list for 19th film fest

Director Mamata Banerjee has rolled out her third annual blockbuster and now it’s up to casting director Shah Rukh Khan to make it happen.

Mamata’s dream cast for the inauguration of this year’s Calcutta International Film Festival? Kamal Haasan, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan (because of the “grandeur he brought to last year’s film festival”) and of course her co-host Shah Rukh Khan, the starriest face of brand Bengal.

To make the reel names real, Mamata will request “brother” Shah Rukh to work his charm on the special guests and bring them to the inaugural dais of the 19th Calcutta International Film Festival from November 10 to 17.

“These are just names that have been suggested. Now it will all depend on their availability. Our chief minister has made a great suggestion to allow Kamal Haasan or Aamir Khan to choose a team that they would like to bring along. Just like Shah Rukh Khan had invited co-stars Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma last year (in the run-up to the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan),” said Indrani Halder, a new member of the film festival committee.

The casting coup was hatched on Monday evening at the CM’s conference room in Writers’, a departure from the venue norm of Nandan.

The hour-long meeting was attended by the festival’s core committee members including Ranjit Mallick, Haranath Chakraborty, Bratya Basu, Debasree Roy, Raj Chakraborty, Shrikant Mohta, Sandhya Roy, Surinder Singh, mayor Sovan Chatterjee and MLA Arup Biswas.

“We discussed how to better the festival this time, make it accessible to more people, the budget and who to approach for the inauguration,” said Debasree Roy.

The Kolkata Knight Riders boss has been a fixture at the festival since Mamata wrested the reins of Bengal — and the film festival — from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in 2011.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled… very touched by the fact that I have been invited to the oldest film festival in our country,” SRK had said, thanking “chief minister sahiba” when he inaugurated the 17th festival.

In 2012, he went from being star guest to star host. “As brand ambassador of Bengal, I am the host and I feel so lucky,” he had announced, slipping into his new role — from being the last one to step onto the dais to hand-holding guests as they stepped off it and following “Mamatadi” every step of the way.

At Monday’s meeting, Mamata said she wanted this year’s opening film to be an unreleased Rituparno Ghosh movie.

For this, Shree Venkatesh Films will seek permission from Nitish Roy for his 2006 film Sunglass, starring Konkona Sensharma and Jaya Bachchan.

That apart, a retrospective of Ghosh’s films is on the cards. “We are trying to get someone big to inaugurate this section too,” added Indrani.

A senior official of the information and cultural affairs department said that “technical matters like projection, screening theatres and the number of films to be screened were discussed in the meeting”, adding that the chief minister “wants the inauguration to be very big, almost larger than life”.

Additional reporting by Sreecheta Das