Friday, May 23, 2014

India’s Day At Cannes



Fri May 16, 2014

clip_image002The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that has been spearheading film exchanges on many levels at Cannes inaugurated their business space at the main Palais area of the Cannes Market.

The chief guests were US producer and director  Ashok Amritraj  and Mallika Sherawat  (who moves between India and the US at lightning speed). Presiding over the crowded event was Bimal Julka, Secretary,  Ministry of  Information and Broadcasting and India’s Ambassador in France, Arun Singh. CII top executives were present including  Amita Sarkar, Deputy Director General, Atreyee Talapatra, Director, and Anamika Kalia, Deputy Director.  The amiable Ashok Amritraj is the Chairman of  CII Cannes Initiative.  Mallika stayed away from her usually enticing couture and wore an elegant beige gown. Courteous and attentive to one and all, she was a major attraction.   The speakers spoke about the various initiatives that CII has taken and are promoting to further India’s film ties across the world.

Following immediately after was the inauguration of the imposing India Pavilion looking out on to Croisette beach front. The India Pavilion is being coordinated by the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FIICI) on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  Bimal Julka, Secretary, I&B Ministry, welcomed all guests giving a brief outline of  India’s role in Cannes and also how India’s film industry was now streamlined and effective to attract film ventures for shooting in India to co-productions.  Ambassador Arun Singh then spoke of the importance within France of the Indian presence reverberating in Cannes. The event was packed with both Indian and foreign delegates. The talk was all about the many meetings furthering connections with the many facets related to  Indian cinema.  Bobby Bedi moderated.

Then, the film talent being facilitated in Cannes took over. They was Uday Chopra of Yash Raj Entertainment, one of main producers of the opening night film, and Avtar Panesar, Vice President, International Operations, Yash Raj Films, Mumbai, producers of the only Indian feature film officially programmed in Cannes, Titli, which is competing in the UN Certain Regard section. The pleased-as-punch members of the Titli team were centre-stage, first-time feature film director Kanu Behl, his actors Ranvir Shorey and Shashank Arora, and his editor Namrata Rao.  Titli is about a younger brother in a rough, abusive family making a shady living on the streets of Delhi. He wants to free himself and lead his own life. The film follows his strange and poignant trajectory in how eventually gets his way.

The first of the panel discussions laid out at the India Pavilion was an in-depth look at the making of Titliwith all those responsible – its creative talent, its producers and also its marketing wing represented by the irrepressible marketing wizard Guneet Monga. Guneet has almost single-handedly spearheaded India’s growing acceptance in the international market which she initiated with Anurag Kashyap’s recent films.

Director Kanu Behl and his actors talked of the immense preparation and effort they made in achieving the raw authenticity that marks the film. “I did not want known actors so that audiences would not be influenced with pre-conceived notions. We improvised a lot in the dialogue after our workshops. My actors and I come from the same rough by-lanes of Delhi so we knew the idiom and body language of where the film is set.”  Guneet explained that with the rising interest worldwide in realistic films from India, films that connect with the country’s current life and problems, makes it clear that this kind of cinema is on upward swing. “It can no longer be ignored”,  she stated emphatically.

Director Mike Leigh has a powerful following worldwide and particularly in Cannes. Rooted in his own British tradition, he is admired for his  heart-felt, intimate depictions of ordinary and  disadvantaged people, generally of the lower middle class.  His latest film, Mr Turner, is a mesmerising  bio-pic on  the last years of the renowned painter and master of light, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). The film is a visually radiant, finely detailed and deeply insightful look at this cantankerous, middle-aged man artist who was incomparable with his  brush, appalling in his appearance and manners, and yet compelling as an extraordinary personality and human being. The rave reviews the film has received makes it a strong contender at the very start for the  2014 Palme d’Or.

Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column

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