Celebrating a century of Indian cinema under sunny skies at Cannes Film Festival 2013
Sunny days and bright skies mark the landscape of Cannes today. Though the rains originally brought with them the magic of silver screen romance, the stars were visibly fraught trying to prevent wardrobe malfunction and putting on their best smiles, as their entourages tried their best to prevent the rains from creating havoc. The bright skies were definitely a warm welcome.
Today’s Screening favourite at Cannes:
Inside Llewyn Davis filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and actors Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan were striding the red carpets of the Cannes Film Festival today. The film describes the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the 1961 Greenwich village folk scene. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring-up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the basket houses of the village to an empty Chicago club, on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman, and back again. The movie expresses the Coen brothers’ signature style, and was well received by the press and the audience.
Celebrating 100th year of Indian Cinema:
Indian cinema meanwhile, celebrates its 100th anniversary (since the first movie Raja Harishchandra by Dhundiraj Phalke) this year, and is the guest of honour at the Cannes Film Festival. The Indian cinema is the largest producer of movies globally, with over 1000 films per year. Thierry Frémaux, general secretary of Cannes Film Festival explains the invitation to India as the Cannes Film Festival guest of honour; “India embodies something essential in cinematographic heritage. It is one of the most active countries in terms of number of theaters and spectators.”
India comprises 13,000 screens in an estimated USD 3.2 billion cinema marketplace. It is the world’s largest producer of motion-picture films. The Indian film industry allows Foreign Direct Investment which has made the Indian film industry a highly lucrative market for foreign corporates such as Walt Disney, 20th century Fox and Sony Pictures. It is forecast to grow to USD 5 billion by 2014.
Marking the 100th year of Indian Cinema, the largest contingent at Cannes is dispelling the myth of Bollywood and reaffirms the status of the Indian film industry. Indian superstars walked the red carpet, along with Leonard di Caprio on the opening night of The Great Gatsby and Vidya Balan is on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival 2013. A new genre of Indian movie actors and directors are at the French Riviera to showcase the Indian movies that are making waves. These films will allow moviegoers to discover the “new wave” of Indian independent filmmakers, far from gigantic Bollywood productions and mere symbols of the author’s original works.
Among them is Amit Kumar, who directed Moonsoon Shootout exploring the impact that one’s choice make on the lives of voters. As heavy monsoon rains lash the badlands in Mumbai, Adi (Vijay Varma), a rookie cop out on his first assignment, faces a life-altering decision when he must decide whether to shoot — or not to shoot. His decision takes him on a journey, pitting him against a system that demands compromised morals. Finally however, Adi and we, come to understand that every choice has its price. The film displays great screenwriting mastery and reflects the maturity of the young director, Amit Kumar — who has yet to sign his first feature film and thus has been selected for the gold camera award.
The other Indian films to be screened at the gala are; Charulata by Satyajit Ray, Ugly by Anurag Kashyap (Directors fortnight), The lunchbox (The critic’s week) and Bombay Talkies by Zoya khtar Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap. Shubra Gupta has declared Bombay Talkies “is a film that gives you what all good movies should.”
A gala dinner party to mark the 100th year of Indian Cinema will be hosted on Sunday and will be attended by Indian film industry celebrities such as, Amitabh Bachan, Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan, Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor and others. Aishwarya Rai, a Cannes favourite for the past 12 years, is the guest of honour for the event.
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Reporting for Arabian Gazette, from Cannes, is our special correspondent — Rahma Rachdi
“Cannes belongs to each and every one of us who, year after year, from wherever we are and in our own individual way, contributes towards creating it step by step. It is only by constantly analyzing the Festival, adapting its function and encouraging debate about it that we will continue to make it the very best it can be. Cannes must be open to new ideas, while remaining faithful to its past, of course. Diversity can only enrich it. That´s what makes the Festival de Cannes our festival.” — Thierry Frémaux, general secretary of Cannes Film Festival