RS Prasad chief guest at CII organised India Evening at Cannes

MUMBAI: Minister of state for information and broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad will be the chief guest at the first ever CII organised India Evening at Cannes scheduled for 19 May 2003. The Hinduja group and the Zee group are amongst the Indian companies who will be participating in the India pavilion.

A CII statement claims that a strong Indian contingent will hardsell India's entertainment industry at this year's Cannes Film Festival 2003 from 14 May to 24 May. The first-ever India Evening on the lines of the India Evening at Davos is being held at the Carlton beach in Cannes. Also, like last year, there will an Indian Pavilion showcasing 40 world-class Indian films.

Priya Dutt (daughter of Nargis and Sunil Dutt) will introduce the India Evening. Ambassador of India to France Savitri Kunadi, CII president Anand Mahindra, India Cannes Film Festival 2003 chairman Shekhar Kapur will be the co-hosts. Bollywood heart-throb Aishwarya Rai will be there as she is the first Indian to be included in the nine-member Cannes jury.

At the India evening, each decade will be epitomized by a live song chronicling a particular era, says the CII statement. The 60s, the era of the "simple" woman, will feature films like Guide and Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam. The 70s will bring back the decade of the Dum Maro Dum rebels. The 80s, the beginning of the "assertive Indian woman" will cast Tezaab. The 90s, the era of the "aggressive Indian woman, will showcase Baazigar. Finally, the new millennium will show the "new Indian woman" - through crossover films such as Bend it Like Beckham and Monsoon Wedding. Shilpa Shetty will portray the role of Indian women in each of the decades.

The CII also claims that the evening will be extensively publicised through local public relations agencies in Cannes and through television in India.

At Cannes 2003, CII's aim will be to project a comprehensive image of India and its film industry. The idea will also be to paint a larger picture of India as a favoured destination- not just for the cinematic experience but also for investment, for leisure, for trade and for education.

CII has booked 130 sq m space inside the Palais. Companies participating in the India pavilion include Verma Corporation, Ramoji Film City, the Hinduja Group, Popcorn Entertainment, Reel Entertainment, Reel Express, Crossover Films, State of Goa and CA Films.

Other Indian companies present at Cannes include various exporters: the Eros group, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), the Zee group, WEG India and many others.

The Cannes Film Market brings together over 7,000 participants from 70 countries, including 1,600 buyers. 1,400 screenings of 700 different films, a majority of which are world premieres, are organised in the 30 venues.

The market serves as an excellent platform to interface with international filmmaking community and will help the Indian film industry understand the international production, distribution and exhibition market scenarios better.

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