On May 17, Kalpana, the only film dancer-choreographer Uday Shankar wrote, directed and acted in, will probably be screened in the Classics Section at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie was restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation.
“I went to Cannes when I was 12 or 13, I’ll return after 81 years,” says Amala, Shankar’s 94-year-old wife who will fly there on May 15.
"I’m so excited, it’s like divine fulfilment,” says Amala Shankar who partnered with her husband in his celluloid dream, Kalpana. She recalls how the film was shot in a studio in Chennai. “It rolled in 1944 and was released four years later in ’48,” says Amala, who at 94, is still full of life.
The film will be screened in the Classics Section of the 65th Cannes Film Festival that flags off on May 16, along with films by Roman Polanski, Alfred Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, and Andrei Konchalovsky. Cannes Classics was started in 2004 to showcase restored masterpieces and Kalpana is going with a brand new print salvaged from a copy of an old negative found in the National Film Archives of India. This year there will be five Indian films at Cannes including Peddlers, Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 1 and Part 2 and Miss Lovely.
Dismissing talk that the film was inspired by her husband, the legendary dancer-choreographer Uday Shankar and his French dance partner Simkie, Amala says, “Simkie was his inspiration and my good friend. But
Kalpana wasn’t about her. Nor was it based on any book. It was a movie born in the imagination with certain incidents and even dialogue from our life together.”