Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur will screen at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, while Vasan Bala’s debut feature, Peddlers will figure in the Critics’ Week.
Both these sections were once part of the Cannes Film Festival, but later went their separate ways. Today, these two sections are not even held within the Festival premises, The Palace. So, as a large section of the Indian media may be tempted to write that Kashyap and Bala are part of the Cannes Film Festival, this will be entirely untrue.
Gangs of Wasseypur is a story that has been inspired by the murder trial and conviction of four Jharkhand politicians, and spins around the deadly Dhanbad coal mafia.
Tragically, the movie’s assistant director, Sohil Shah, died in a road accident when the shoot was on at Varanasi in 2010.
Essayed by a strong cast of Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui (the Intelligence Bureau guy in Kahaani) and Tigmanshu Dhulia (the helmer who gave us gripping works such as Sahib, Bibi Aur Gangster and Paan Singh Tomar), Gangs of Wasseypur (the title appears to have been motivated by Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York) comes as some kind of gratification for Indian cinema, which has not been able to make much headway at Cannes in a long time.
While, Kashyap is well known even outside India (his Girl in the Yellow Boots played at Venice in 2010), Bala is an emerging helmer, though he assisted Michael Winterbottom in Trishna and Kashyap in Dev D.
Peddlers, starring Gulshan Devaiah (excellent as Siddharth in Hate Story), Kriti Malhotra and Nishikant Kamat, will be shown along with six other films from countries like Spain, France, Argentina and Germany. The movie, which will compete for the Camera d’Or Prize, takes place in Mumbai and revolves around a woman with a mission and a man living a life of lie.
Long ago, Mira Nair won the Camera d’Or Award for Salam Bombay (1988), an honour that pushed her to the skies.