History repeated itself after three decades Saturday as Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan walked down the very tunnel of the Netaji Subhash Indoor Stadium here through which he had sauntered majestically during one of the scenes of the 1981 blockbuster "Yaarana".
The legend of Indian cinema, who recently turned 70, said: "Kolkata will always have a special place in my heart. Every time I came here, I was welcomed with such warmth, love and adulation which I have never found in any other part of the world."
The superstar was in the city to inaugurate the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at the stadium with Shah Rukh Khan, on a special invitation from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The chief minister expressed her respect for Bachchan.
"Amitabh ji last came to the Netaji Indoor Stadium here for the shooting of 'Yarana'. Because he has come we are moved, and entire West Bengal is proud because he has inaugurated the film festival. He belongs not only to India, but is also a legendary film figure in the world," said Banerjee at the inauguration.
"Yaarana", which came out in 1981 sees the actor walking through the tunnel at the Netaji Indoor Stadium onto a makeshift stage and belting out the popular hit "Saara Zamana" to a packed audience.
At the inaugural ceremony of the film festival Saturday, he walked down the same path leading to the dais to tumultuous applause from national and international guests.
"The people here have the special knack of lifting your spirits. So I always say if you are depressed, come to Kolkata. The people here will lift your spirit," he said, attired in a black bandhgala coat.
As a special tribute to Bacchan, KIFF will screen seven of his cult films, including "Deewar", "Abhiman" and "Black".
The film festival, running from Nov 10-17, will screen 189 movies from 60 countries.