Bollywood stars celebrate India’s films at Cannes

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May 25, 2012

CANNES, France — There’s definitely an Indian vibe at Cannes this year – something Sonam Kapoor is proud of. The Indian actress, and daughter of star Anil Kapoor, has been enjoying the French film festival for several days.

May 25, 2012

CANNES, France — There’s definitely an Indian vibe at Cannes this year – something Sonam Kapoor is proud of. The Indian actress, and daughter of star Anil Kapoor, has been enjoying the French film festival for several days.

From left, actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anil George, Niharika Singh and director Ashim Ahluwalia pose during a photo call for "Miss Lovely" at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 24, 2012.

Speaking at the L'Oreal and Chopard rooftop party on Wednesday night, Kapoor said: "I love cinema so much and I think most of India does as well, and it's really nice that people around the world are appreciating the Indian community has been growing so much."

While Indian celebs bond at the French Riviera this year, thanks to the gang of directors like Anurag Kashyap, Onir and Nila Madhab Panda, people are now talking more about Indian celebs who've been to Cannes by virtue of their work and not for being the face of a cosmetic major.

If one goes back in time, Mrinal Sen has perhaps been a favourite Indians at the Cannes jury. If his Kharij won the Best Jury Prize in 1983, Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar won the Joint Festival Top Prize of Grand Prix du Festival International du Film along with David Lean's Brief Encounters in 1946.

This year, film-buffs are talking about Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely and Vasan Bala's The Peddlers drawing attention at Cannes. Last year, Paoli Dam had walked the red carpet for her Chatrak that was an official selection. It's another thing that she has hogged the national headlines more for her bareback act in Hate Story instead of her Cannes debut. When recent Indian cinema is giving reasons to celebrate, isn't it worthwhile to focus on that as well and not just on the glamour quotient?

Monday night was time for celebrations for the Indian brigade. Anurag Kashyap, Onir, Sanjay Suri, Madhu Mantena, Sudhir Mishra, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Gulshan Deviah and Nila Madhab Panda danced to Bollywood numbers. For them, it was a time to celebrate the global recognition of independent Indian cinema.

Nawazuddin Siddique, who has three movies at Cannes, flew to France on Monday night. The actor attributes this lack of awareness to both ignorance and the existence of a lobby that emphasises misplaced priorities. "A short film of mine had once won a BAFTA. But nobody wrote about it. Designers didn't want to give me something that I could wear at the Cannes red carpet. So, I went to a local tailor to get a suit stitched for myself. There is a lobby at work that doesn't want underdogs to get their recognition. It suits them to not pay attention to them to avoid a threat. But, things are changing slowly. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have had the guts to talk about this issue. I, at least, have a voice now," he says.

Says Onir, who has been selected for Cinado or CNC producers network, "Though things are changing, acting prowess is not what gets media coverage in India. It's the commerce that matters. Look at Umesh Kulkarni who won a National Award this year and is also at Cannes with me now. How many in India know about him or his work? They do know about the stars and what they are wearing even if it's for endorsing a brand. Yet, I'm very optimistic after my Cannes visit this year because I see a change in mindset."

Actor Mamata Shankar, whose Kharij had won the special jury award at Cannes, has just returned from France where her father's Kalpana was screened. "I couldn't go to Cannes the year Mrinal Sen's Kharij had won the award there. This year was big at Cannes and it saw Kalpana getting a rebirth. While the world is taking note of this film, I wish India did so too."

Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also is attending the festival.


Courtesy: TOI