New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said actor Amitabh Bachchan should be awarded with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, for his contributions to Indian cinema.
“Although not officially, but from Bengal, we will raise this demand to honour Amitabh Bachchan with the Bharat Ratna award for his contributions to Indian cinema, over such a long time,” said the Trinamool Congress president at the inaugural ceremony of the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
Amitabh and actor Jaya Bachchan were present at the ceremony. The event was also attended by actors Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee and director Mahesh Bhatt.
Speaking at the ceremony, Amitabh said, “The festival (KIFF) has always celebrated the inclusive spirit of cinema beyond the confines of what Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore called ‘narrow domestic walls’. I salute you Kolkata for giving me my first job and giving Jaya her first film but most of all, I salute you for your artistic temperament that embraces the essence of plurality and equality. This is what makes Bengal so special.”
He also commented on freedom of expression and said, “Even now, questions are being raised on civil liberties and freedom of expression.”
This was the second time that Banerjee made such a demand.
“The Padma Vibhushan to Amitabh Bachchan is not enough. He is a legend in his lifetime. He deserves a Bharat Ratna,” she had said on her official Facebook handle in 2015.
The veteran actor had then responded saying, “@MamataOfficial Mamata di… I am not deserving of such recognition… Most humbled and honoured by what the Nation has given me..!!.”
The West Bengal CM has also made other statements in favour of the actor. In 2015, she supported his views on intolerance.
“Today Amitabhji has spoken on the issue of intolerance. Everyone has spoken on this. Unity in diversity, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, is our strength. Tolerance is life. Intolerance is not acceptable. Every religion has spoken about tolerance. It is also written in the Vedas,” she said at the 21st edition of the KIFF.
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