A guessing game has become as annual a ritual as the Cannes Film Festival, which this year starts on May 16, a slightly delayed kick-off in order not to clash with the French presidential election.
Some weeks before the official lineup is announced by Cannes (this year on April 19) in Paris, speculations begin flying. India contributes its share of presumptions.
A few days ago, Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal said he would be happy if Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine and Sudhir Mishra's Inkaar travel to the French Riviera Festival. The movies deserve to be there, he felt. Did someone at the Festival whisper this in Rampal’s ears? After the “leaked” list business the other day – angrily denied by the Festival Director – Rampal’s statement can be viewed as pure conjecture or wishful thinking.
Readers may remember that Bhandarkar and Aishwarya Rai had announced the launch of Heroine at Cannes last year. (Weeks later, Rai was found to be pregnant, and a livid Bhandarkar had to choose another star.) Was Rampal hoping that a film launched at Cannes had greater chances of being included in the Festival?
Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. Mani Ratnam announced Raavan/Raavanan (Hindi/Tamil) at Cannes, but it was picked up by Venice.
There is a buzz about two other movies: Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur with Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddique (who played Intelligence Bureau officer Khan in Kahaani) and Richa Chadda (Dolly in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!) and Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai with Abhay Deol, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin.
I am sure there are many other films in the race for Cannes.
Outside India, probables are being touted. It is quite likely that Walter Salles’ adaptation of the 1957 Jack Kerouac novel that defined the Beat generation, On the Road, and David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, the screen version of Don DeLillo's novel about a fateful day in the life of a rich financier may find berths at the Festival. The Brad-Pitt- starrer-Andrew-Dominik-helmed Cogan’s Trade, and Jacques Audiard’s (remember his Oscar-nominated A Prophet) suspenseful romance with Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone, are being considered.
Will John Hillcoat’s Lawless (on the Great Depression) and Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines (with Ryan Gosling, whose Drive was a hit at last Cannes) be out of the labs to meet the Festival deadline?
The other names and titles spoken about include Michael Haneke’s Amour (starring Isabelle Huppert) and Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share. Both directors are past Palm d’Or winners – Haneke with The White Ribbon and Loach with The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
Now what about American cinema: here are the contenders: James Gray with Low Life, Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly and Ridley Scott with Prometheus.
The French team may have Alan Resnais' Vous n'avez encore rien vu, with Mathieu Almaric, Leos Carax' Holly Motors (starring Denis Lavant, Michel Piccoli, Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes), and Francois Ozon's Dans La Masion, with Kristin Scott Thomas.
The Asian grapevine has these offerings: Stocker by Korea’s Park Chan-wook, Like Someone in Love by the Iranian Abbas Kiarostami, and The Land of Hope by Japan’s Sono Sion.
All these are big names, and it very likely many of them will be on the Croisette.