Kolkata: To celebrate childhood, a week-long children film festival showcasing classics and contemporary films from India and 14 other countries was on Wednesday inaugurated here.

The first edition of the West Bengal government organized Kolkata International Children's Film Festival was inaugurated by director Amol Gupte's 10-year-old son Partho.

Partho had played the lead role as Stanley Fernandez in his father's recent hit film 'Stanley Ka Dabba'.

"People often behave as if children are not human beings. What baffles me is that when we talk about children's film, people react as if we are talking about a separate species or may be animal films," Gupte, who also wrote Aamir Khan's superhit 'Taare Zameen Par', said.

Describing children as his guru, Gupte said he has devoted his entire life for children films.

The critically acclaimed 'Stanley Ka Dabba', which was the inaugural film of the festival, is a simple tale about how a young school student hides his tiffin box from a food-loving teacher.

Shot with an SLR camera on a shoe-string budget, the film -- also starring Gupte and actor Divya Dutta -- was a box-office hit.

Altogether 169 movies, including short films, will be screened in the city at Nandan, Sisir Mancha, Star Theatre, Rabindra Okakura Bhavan and SRFTI auditorium, Festival director Arpita Ghosh said.

The notable films to be screened at the Festival include Shyam Benegal's 1975 classic 'Charandas Chor', Santosh Sivan's 'Malli' (1998), Nila Madhab Panda's award-winning 'I am Kalam', Madhu Bose's 'Alibaba', Satyajit Ray's classic 'Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen' and the latest Bengali hit 'Gosain Baganer Bhoot'.

A contemporary international short film package curated by Goethe-Institute, will also be shown.

There will be a package of animation films produced by National Institute of Design (NID) and DEFA studio, Germany.

Adventure Club, Giridut will showcase a colourful package of international adventure films.

(Agencies)