Some called it their "muse" some their "inspiration" and some felt "special" to be a part of it. Celebrities from various fields rejoiced in the 'Spirit of Kolkata' at an award function here.
A host of celebrities like Aparna Sen, Bappi Lahiri and Jogen Chowdhury from the fields of cinema, music and painting respectively were Sunday given the Celebrating Kolkata awards in recognition to their invaluable contribution and endeavour, and impact on West Bengal and the Indian scene.
"Kolkata is my muse, my inspiration. I love everything about her - the liveliness, noise and beauty. It is no surprise that my first movie as a director was based on the city. I don't think I could be what I am today without Kolkata," National award winning director and actor Aparna Sen said after getting the award.
Sen made her debut as a director with "36 Chowringhee Lane", a film about an aged Anglo-Indian teacher living in the city. She won the National award for best director for the venture.
Acclaimed director Gautam Ghose, who received the award for his contribution as a filmmaker, described it as the most tolerant city.
"I am honoured to be born in this city. It has seen many ups and downs, witnessed many turmoil and clashes but is the most tolerant city in the sub-continent. It continues to be my love," he said Ghose.
Trinamool Congress lawmaker H.A. Safwi had the audience in splits when he and fellow legislator and West Bengal industries minister Partha Chatterjee were called upon the stage to present the award to composer Bappi Lahiri.
"I was a little worried for the stage when Bappi was requested to come on it which already had me and Partha. We are heavyweights, heavy in weight," said Safwi while giving the award to Lahiri.
Critically acclaimed actor Nandita Das called herself an "adopted Bengali" and compared the metropolis to a "person". "It's more like a person. Someone you can love, hate, belong to, miss and feel at home. Every time I come to city I feel special," said Das.
Noted singer Usha Uthup, who was also awarded on the occasion, livened up the atmosphere with some of her notable hit songs including "Darling" from the movie "7 Khoon Maaf", for which she won the Filmfare award this year.
"Though we are global citizens but its marvellous to be an Indian and very special to be a Kolkatan," said Uthup about the city which has been her home since 1968.