As the 70th year of Cannes Film Festival celebrates cinema and charm once again, Indian films and personalities made their presence noteworthy at the French Riviera. Red carpet strides, screenings, poster launch, fashion, gossip and more – let’s look at the most significant moments from Cannes 2017.
The Indian film industry in terms of purpose and glamour had a lot to share at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. While the largest producer of films in the world got a mere 13-minute short film as the solitary official selection, the country remains optimistic about the business opportunities that this major cinema carnival offers.
Here are some of the major stories from Cannes 2017 show floor:
Fashion and red carpets
The Cannes red carpet and flashes from international media photographers were spoilt for choice as a number of Indian actresses graced the occasion. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan presented herself as a brand ambassador of L’Oreal Paris and also the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Devdas that marked her debut at Cannes in 2002. Aishwarya walked the red carpet on May 19 and 20.
Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone were the other two Indian actresses who made a rivetting collage of frames on the red carpet this year. While Sonam started her Cannes journey in 2011, this was Deepika’s much-awaited red carpet walk endorsing L’Oreal Paris as the new brand ambassador.
Sonam’s Elie Saab on the first day and then a stylish Anamika Khanna dress made headlines as much as Deepika’s Marchesa gown and then a Brandon Maxwell while Aishwarya bid a fitting farewell to Cannes in a red Ralph and Russo gown on Friday.
Mallika Sherawat, Amy Jackson and Sonam Kapoor’s sister Rhea Kapoor were also spotted enjoying this 10-day film festival. Apart from the leading ladies, the Academy Award winning music composer, AR Rahman also walked the red carpet with the lead cast, director, and producers of the film Sangamithra, a trilingual film creating much buzz back home. Shruti Haasan, the lead actress was among the noteworthy faces marking her debut at the festival.
Business at Cannes
The India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival made its customary presence with a delegation from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). The Ambassador of India to France, Dr Mohan Kumar in the inauguration shared his thoughts along with Ashok Parmar, the Joint Secretary (Films) of I&B Ministry. Dr Mohan regretting the poor run of Indian films at Cannes said, “My regret has not much to do with my tenure but with the fact that Indian films need to make a bigger impact in Cannes. I think we should recognise that very soon.”
Among the state delegation, the western state of Maharashtra has perhaps taken up the task of exploring and exploiting the potential of regional films at Cannes seriously. The state had set up an autonomous body, Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation Ltd (MFSCDC) and participated at Cannes with intent. A delegation to Cannes with senior filmmaker Ashok Rane, who has coordinated the Cannes presence, along with a team of promising filmmakers reached the French Riviera to take notes and understand the business that can allure international audience to Marathi films in the future.
The three films that made it to the market this year were Take Care Good Night by Girish Jayant Joshi and Sandeep Bhalchandra Patil, Cycle by Prakash Kunte and Dashakriya (Tenth Day Ritual) by Sandeep Bhalchandra Patil.
Movies and screenings
It’s otherwise a cold Cannes journey for Indian films this year. Apart from Payal Kapadia’s Afternoon Clouds, a 13-minute short film made by the third-year student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII); India’s no-show in the official categories can invite longer debates. The short film selected for the Cinefondation category is also the first official selection from FTII at the Cannes. Read Payal Kapadia’s featured interview here.
Besides, Rima Das’s on-going project, Village Rockstars was at the Cannes Film Market popularly known as the Marche du Film as one of the titles selected by Hong Kong – Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF). Rima’s self-made film was a part of ‘Hong Kong goes to Cannes’ programme. She was also at Cannes in 2016 with her maiden film Antardrishti (Man with Binoculars), which she is all set to release back home in India when she returns.
The second poster of Majid Majidi’s next film, Beyond the Clouds was launched at the Cannes Film Festival. The Iranian director known for his internationally acclaimed works such as Children of Heaven, Baran, Song of Sparrows, etc., is making his next film in India. AR Rahman is once again putting his melodies in the film starring Malavika Mohanan and debutant actor Ishaan Khattar. Produced by Eye Candy Films and Zee Studios, the first poster of the film was launched at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
Majid Majidi in an interview with Media India Group’s publication India&You had earlier revealed how India was always a place where he wanted to make a film. “From the travel experiences I had from India I liked the way of life in India. I found the country really dramatic and I always thought that one day I would come and make a film in India,” Majidi said in a face-to-face interview.
While Shareen Mantri, one of the producers of the film shares her experience at the Cannes where the new poster was unveiled, Majidi’s new film ushers new hope for the otherwise mundane Bollywood formula-based films.
Majidi observed the dilemma of cliché in Indian films. “All the films look similar because they are following each other. They have no relationship between the real life of Indians and the films being made in India; which makes it the biggest cliché of the Indian film industry. And, there are not enough efforts made to break this cliché, maybe they are scared to do that,” he said in a reply.
Acclaimed actress and filmmaker Nandita Das was also at Cannes with her recent project, Manto. The biographical film on Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto features Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the title role and Rasika Dugal as his wife Safia. HP Studios co-producing with Viacom 18, Manto‘s first-look was unveiled at Cannes. Seeking prospective buyers in the form of international distributors, Manto is set to release by the end of 2017 in Hindi with subtitles for global release.
— Nandita Das (@nanditadas) May 22, 2017
Among the smaller anecdotes that helped Indian media find some meat at Cannes was the screening of the trailer of Priyanka Chopra’s Sikkimese production Pahuna. The trailer of Indian chef Vikas Khanna’s Buried Seeds also got a screening this year.
To get an interesting read on Indian cinema from Cannes 2016 to Cannes 2017 do grab the latest issue of India & You from the press stands and the official hotels (Marriott & Carlton).