Bengal will never bow its head before others: Mamata

Bengal will never bow its head before others: Mamata (Incorporating related stories and additional details) Kolkata, Nov 8 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister MamataBanerjee on Friday lauded Bengali film makers for theirmessage of unity in diversity for decades and said the statewill never bow its head before others.

Bengal has produced a number of award winning filmmakers and the largest number of Nobel Prize winners in thecountry, she said inaugurating the 25th Kolkata InternationalFilm Festival.

Banerjee's comment was an apparent answer to UnionHome Minister Amit Shah's statement that Bengal is laggingbehind in scientific and cultural development.

'Bengal is number one in terms of giving the countryaward winning film makers. The state has produced largestnumbers of Nobel Prize winners in the country. We are numberone in scientific and cultural development in the country,'Banerjee said without naming either Shah or the BJP.

Shah, who is also the BJP national president, during avisit to West Bengal in October had criticised the TMCgovernment for destroying Bengal saying the state which wasonce known for religious, scientific and cultural developmentis now known for 'bomb making factories'.

Banerjee said, 'We are not jealous of others. Neitherdo we have any negative attitude towards any competition. Wehave a positive approach towards everybody.

'As long as we live we will fight and never bow ourheads before anyone,' the TMC supremo said.

She lauded film maker Mahesh Bhatt, who wasone of the invitees at the programme, saying he is veryoutspoken and dares to speak his mind when others arescared to do so.

In an apparent support to Banerjee's call for equalimportance to all regional languages, Bhatt said no one shouldimpose a language on others and must allow everyone to speaktheir mother tongue.

Bhatt said the greatness of India lies in itsdiversity.

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan inaugurated the film festivalat the Netaji Indoor stadium in the presence of a galaxy ofstars from Bollywood, Bengali cinema and foreign dignitaries.

Khan, who was accompanied by Banerjee and yesteryearBollywood actor Rakhee Gulzar, lit the ceremonial lamp.

Germany's Oscar winning director Volker Schlondorffand and BCCI President and former Indian cricket captainSourav Ganguly were also present at the programme.

Satyajit Ray's 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne' was theinaugural film of the festival as this is the 50th year of itsrelease. Germany will be the focus country this year.

Altogether 367 films - 214 feature films and153 short documentary works from 76 countries will bescreened during the eight-day festival. PTI PNTKK KK