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Cannes takes an Indian film as an afterthought

In what seems like a consolation prize for Indian cinema, a feature produced by Shekhar Kapur exclusively for the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be screen out of competition. Gautaman Bhaskaran writes.

entertainment Updated: Apr 23, 2011 18:01 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran

In what seems like a consolation prize for Indian cinema, a feature produced by Shekhar Kapur exclusively for the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be screen out of competition.

Titled Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, its inclusion in the Festival (May 11 to 22) has just been announced, and it will evoke a sigh of relief for a nation which never ceases to boast that it is the world's largest producer of cinema.

Yet, it invariably finds itself unrepresented or misrepresented or underrepresented.

And Cannes, often described as the queen of festivals, is one classic case where India has been trying hard to break the barrier.

Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told began with a conversation with Kapur, a member of the Festival's main jury in 2010.

Why not make a movie that brings together the most wonderful moments in the hundreds of Indian musical films, with all their moving pageantry and dance?

Indeed, it is the song and drama that once led to the coining of the word, "melodrama" (melody plus drama), a description that aptly fits most of Indian celluloid works.

Some months after the chat with Kapur, Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told popped out of the cans.

It is a swirling and poignant montage in which Kapur, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Delhi 6, Rang De Basanti) and Jeff Zimbalist (American documentary moviemaker best known for his Favela Rising, The Two Escobars, and The Scribe of Urabá) paint their tributes to Bollywood, the Hindi language cinema that emerges from Mumbai, a city where dreams are made and unmade almost magically.

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