India ups Cannes Film Fest presence

NEW DELHI: For 10 years, India has been increasing its presence at the Cannes Film Festival year after year. And now, is seems to have visibly surpassed all the previous years in terms of the films being screened in different sections.

A high-level 45-member team, led by the ministry of information and broadcasting secretary Raghu Menon, will also be at the seaside resort in France which is considered the most important of all International Film Festivals. The fest begins on 12 May while the Indian pavilion will be inaugurated on 13 May by Menon.

Veteran filmmaker S Krishnaswamy of Krishnaswamy Associates, remembered for his film Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi and other short films and series, will be present along with his producer Mohana Krishnaswamy to showcase his latest feature-length documentary, A Different Pilgrimage. The documentary is about the spread of Hindu culture in south east Asia from ancient times. The film has been extensively shot in some Asian countries including Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Filmed by the award-winning Madhu Ambat, the film has research by Dr Lokesh Chandra of Delhi.

Senior filmmaker Pulak Mukherjee of Entertainment Creation is also showcasing his documentary The Uncaptured Passion, directed by Mohammed Afzal Khan and Harshvardhan Singh. The 30-minute film has been made by seven final year engineering students of the National Institute of Technology in Durgapur and is the story of Aditya Shrivastav who is a creative person and a passionate photographer since childhood. When he grows up, he is put under a lot of mental pressure from his surroundings which turns him into a psycho. But, his passion lives on.

Veteran Delhi-based distributor Parvesh Mehra, who recently held an exhibition of some of the earliest photographs and posters from Indian cinema in the capital, will also be at the Cannes Fest to purchase some foreign films for the Indian market. 

Both the Confederation of Indian Industry and Assocham have made arrangements for Indian film professionals. While the CII has taken two booths in the Palais des Festivals and is providing table space in the market area, Assocham is hosting the official India pavilion in the Village International along the famed Cannes Croisette in association with the ministry of information and broadcasting.

A large number of filmmakers and film distributors from India will also be present at the Festival.

Khandhar, starring Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapoor, which has been restored by Reliance MediaWorks at the National Film Archives of India, will be screened in the Classics section introduced last year. The film had won awards within the country and also at Montreal and Chicago.

Reliance MediaWorks will also showcase its efforts at restoration of old films during the Festival between 12 and 23 May.

UTV is showcasing five films including Udaan, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane (selected for the ‘Un Certain Regard‘ section), and Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live, apart from a market screening of Paresh Mokashi’s Harischandrachi Factory. The film is about the making of the first indigenous Indian film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913 by DG Phalke.

I Am Kalam, a feature film by debutante Nila Madhab Panda and inspired by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, is to be screened in Le Marche du Film section while the Naga short film, Last of the Tattooed Head Hunters, by Vikeyeno Zao, has been selected in the short film corner category of the festival.

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