Wednesday, May 21, 2014

EXCLUSIVE CURTAIN RAISER ON THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL THE DAZZLING RED CARPET PARADE

By UMA DA CUNHA

Tue may 13, 2014

clip_image002On May 14, Cannes’ latest celebration will open with its dazzling red carpet parade, marked by an elegant merging of high fashion and film as high art. With that, every night, over 2,000 invited guests will make their choreographed ascent up the 24 crucial steps of the Grand Théâtre Lumière.  Halfway, the steps widen into a platform where preening stars put on a show for the 300 screaming photographers lined up both sides and the sea of vocal spectators lining the streets.

Cannes’s 67th observance brings us its usual excitements, but also a single unusual tweak. It is going to be one day shorter. The European elections on Sunday, May 25 has led Festival management to reveal their own silver screen winners a day earlier.  So a slightly tighter schedule awaits us but not, for that reason, anything less emotive, path-breaking or, in its own way, glitzy.

India’s presence, too, is a bit curtailed this year. But its trio of films in the much contested Official Selection sets a record. Yashraj Films, India’s top-rung studio, steals the limelight …

To begin with, it could be a first for India to be involved with Cannes’s prized opening film. That film is Grace of Monaco with Nicole Kidman in the title role. Lo and behold, Yash Raj Entertainment based in Los Angeles is one of the film’s six producers.  Uday Chopra will be a major presence on opening night.

Then, it was Yashraj Films in India that gave new wave trend-setter Dibakar Banerjee the option to make three films of his choice. Titli, the directorial debut by Kanu Behl is the first, and it is in Cannes in the coveted Un Certain Regard section. The director will contend for the Camera d’Or award for the festival’s best directing debut.

Talented animation film maker Gitanjali Rao too sets her own record by making her third grand entry into Cannes.  Gitanjali won the award at Critics Week in 2006 for her animated short Printed Rainbow. She returned to Critics week in 2013 as a jury member.  Now, her latest odyssey True Love Story, a kaleidoscopic take on Bollywood’s impact on Indian street life, is set to compete again in Critics Week.

Finally India, as the world’s largest producer of films, occupies major space in the Cannes Marche. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FIICI) coordinates the India Pavilion this year for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Nina Gupta, of the National Film Development Corporation, the body set up to nurture Indian cinema in its many facets, will head her booth in the Riviera. She will be joined there by another strong regular, the Confederation of Indian Industries.  These are powerful spokes-people of institutions backing India’s film industry.

India’s glamour will be present, spotlit and gorgeous. One of the main sponsors of the Cannes festival, L’Oreal, will have three of its India Ambassadors in Cannes – Aishwaria Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto (Katrina Kaif cannot make it due to work commitments).  Mallika  Sherawat,  a regular at Cannes, will be present to inaugurate the Confederation of Indian Industry booth in the Cannes Market – along with Hollywood producer  Ashok Amritraj who is inviting selected guests to his yacht cocktail at the start of the festival.

The fun and festivities in Cannes are mingled with over 200 films on official display and a thousand others dotted all over the sea-front Croisette as market screenings.  Then there are sections such as the Short Film Corner (many Indians included here) and Cinéfondation (highlighting documentaries), with non-stop lobbying for sneak screenings by hundreds of hopefuls.  Partying will contribute its joy and toll every splashy night. 

Courtesy: http://thecitizen.in/ - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on

January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column

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