Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Basking in stolen glory

In recent times newspapers have been carrying series of articles on the 66th Cannes Film Festival that gave the feeling that many Indian actors, actresses and directors from all over were all there at the Festival itself. News articles were so structured and presented to give out the impression that Indian film personalities, including our very own local actors and actresses, were there on invitation.
The fact, however, is that majority of them were just there at Cannes, like so many others, to experience the electrifying atmosphere or may be out on a picnic at the French Riviera. There was nothing official about it. Many of them hired halls and red carpets to screen for private screening of their own films and followed by dinners and parties and so on. This was very strategically done to send home a message that they were a part of the big event where as it was more like a picnic or a well-timed pleasure trip.
In fact, Vidya Balan was the only Indian to be a part of the coveted jury for the main competition headed by Steven Spielberg who held the Indian flag at Cannes as she walked up the red carpet at the famous Grand Theatre Lumiere in a glamorous maroon Sabyasachi outfit.
The Festival was declared open by Leonardo DiCaprio and Amitabh Bachchan – the other Bollywood icon. Big B said bonsoir and thanked the festival for inviting India as country of honour in France and spoke in Hindi about Indian cinema completing 100 years. The Ceremony continued with the screening of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in the `Out of Competition' category with the key members of the movie crew in attendance, including Amitabh Bachchan who played a cameo in the film. Aishwarya Rai was there as were Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto as the L'Oreal ambassadors.
Indian films in the official selection included Amit Kumar's directorial debut Monsoon Shootout in the Midnight Screening or Camera d'Or or Golden camera section, Bombay Talkies with short films by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibaker Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap, a restored version of Satyajit Ray's Charulata in the Cannes Classic section. Anurag Kashyap's Ugly and Ritesh Batra's Dabba starring Irrfan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui were in the Director's Fortnight and Critics Week respectively which are parallel sections. Nandita Das was there at the Cannes red carpet as a member of a special jury for short films called Cinefoundation.
At home in Kolkata, what we also got to see was a very different picture in news reports. I heard many people discussing how our local stars have made it to the Cannes and the supporting pictures in the dailies seemed to support this view. The fact was that most of them were there just to be a part of the film phenomenon called Cannes and that's it. Trying to give it a colour, knowingly or unknowingly, that they were there as guests is all moonshine.
It seems that Cannes is becoming a major itinerary on celebs' annual calendar for there are other advantages of boosting up one's image by being there at the right time. One of my friends aptly described it as “basking in stolen glow”.
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