“It’s fabulous that the competition focuses on women directors and I think this is the time of women power and goddess power and what could be better than Kolkata to start this,” Balan said at the inaugural of the 21st edition of the KIFF here.
This year for the second time, the KIFF is a competitive event, which focuses on films helmed by women filmmakers.
The prize, the Royal Bengal trophy, will be awarded to the best film (Rs.51 lakh) and the best director (Rs.21 lakh).
Reminiscing about her first tryst with India’s second oldest fest, Balan was overwhelmed and fell short of words to describe her elation.
“I was at the KIFF 12 years ago as the welcome thali girl after the release of my first Bengali film ‘Bhalo Theko’… I am overwhelmed today,” she said.
Balan also talked of clicking selfies with “Bengal tigresses on stage”. She referred to actresses Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan, Moushumi Chatterjee and a clutch of other actresses from Bengal including Sandhya Roy and Madhabi Mukherjee.
“Some of the most memorable actors, characters and films are from Kolkata. So its poetic justice that KIFF initiated this. I hope that KIFF becomes the destination that people flock to,” Balan said.
Sharmila, who is heading the jury that will select the best film and director from among 14 short-listed entries by women filmmakers, also endorsed Balan’s views.
“We are very happy that the KIFF focuses on women directors,” she said.