Anurag Kashyap: 'The perception of India cinema is changing'
Digital Spy: Published Monday, May 28 2012, 16:12 BST | By Priya Joshi |
Indian filmmakers and delegates attending the 65th Cannes Film Festival have said that the strong Indian presence this year has changed the international perception of Indian cinema.
Anurag Kashyap, whose two-part crime film Gangs of Wasseypur was selected for the Directors' Fortnight, told The Times of India: "Indian cinema has been about only song and dance to the West. But with films like GoW, the perception is changing. I think they were surprised to see a film that is fierce in its spirit and yet entertaining.
"We're really thrilled with the reactions. Cannes is such a busy festival and it was amazing to see a full house for such a long film. Both parts of Gangs of Wasseypur were received well."
Compared with previous years, Indian cinema was strongly represented at the festival, with Gangs of Wasseypur, Peddlers and Miss Lovely in competition, and a screening of Indian classic Kalpana.
The event also saw Bollywood represented with the presence of Mallika Sherawat and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Co-producer of Gangs of Wasseypur Sunil Bohra said: "I always told my friends a very stupid thing. I'll only go to a film festival when I have a film there. First year in Cannes, a film I co-produced in competition. It's very thrilling.
"We have had five films in competition. It is so amazing that five films are in key sections. So it's a good year. Finally our cinema is getting the recognition it deserves."
Speaking to Digital Spy, acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Bedi, who is embarking on a sequel to Bandit Queen, described India's representation as "a slow process".
"It started seven years ago. We have a film in competition and that is a good thing."
Speaking about Anurag Kashyap's achievement, Bedi said: "Fifteen years ago Bandit Queen was the last film India had in Directors' Fortnight. This is the next one. I can remember how anxious we were."
Internationally-renowned film critic and 40-year veteran of the Cannes film festival Derek Malcolm said the Indian representation should be more selective.
"The representation of India at Cannes has always been disgraceful," he commented.
"Silly Bollywood films that don't represent the best of India. It's very difficult to make good Indian films that are good enough for the competition. The situation in India is very bad for independent filmmakers.
"So it's been a dry period for the last ten years. Gradually it's improving, and the India Pavilion and the fact that it's being organised properly makes a big difference and I think we should try to encourage better Indian filmmakers to come even if they haven't got films.
"I think the India representation should be much more selective. Not all Bollywood films are terrible, just far too long. Miss Lovely is something entirely different from India. It's a good film. Indians haven't plugged the right films. I really think it's a bit of a mess, but hopefully, gradually it will improve."
Actor and producer Sanjay Suri, who was selected by the CNC for the Producers Network at Cannes 2012 and was invited to walk the red carpet for Ken Loach's The Angels' Share, said India's participation in the festival was a "cause for celebration".
"It's great to see such a huge participation from India this year. We have three Indian films at Cannes this year in various categories and that's something that calls for celebration."
Uma Dacunha, editor and publisher of the quarterly Film India Worldwide and a 25-year veteran of the festival, described the Indian selection as a "renaissance for Indian cinema".
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan makes first appearance at 2012 Cannes Festival
"Indian cinema has gone through a very slack period. We have not been going to film festivals," she said. "Not just Cannes, but Berlin, Venice. We have not been in competition. We have not been in the main sections. We are just tucked away in some smaller sections, whereas one time in '70s and '80s India was everywhere.
"We seem to have gone down somewhere. I don't know what the reason is. Inaccessible films, maybe the culture.
"In Cannes this year it's a kind of renaissance for us. Three films in the main sections from some of the finest filmmakers in India. And I think Aishwarya plays a very relevant role. It's a tremendous boost for us.
"We are now getting back into the international scene. It really is by far the best organised festival in the world. I'm looking forward to the Indian films making a huge impact and seeing our films in competition next year too."