Today, I experienced the Cannes Crush. Some 25,000 people attend the festival each year, including 4000 journalists. Some are film critics writing mainly about the movies being screened, but the rest of us are here to cover the festival and the biggest ticket in town is of course, a Hollywood star.
So when Chivas invited us to a press conference with Robert De Niro, we hungrily said yes! The conference was held at the Chivas House, created on the Cheri Cheri beach at the Croisette. The crowd started to gather earlier than the designated time of 4 pm. The publicists said they weren’t ready for journalists yet, and so, more and more of us collected right outside the entry point. Bystanders, seeing so many journalists and cameras, also stood still, hoping for a star to arrive. In half an hour, hundred-odd journalists were smashed up against each other. Eventually, we were let in and told that De Niro was running half hour late. Eventually he arrived, smiled for exactly 30 seconds and disappeared. He didn’t say a word. It was the quickest press conference appearance I’ve ever seen.
Thankfully, the Bollywood press conference lasted longer. UTV head honcho Ronnie Screwvala, director Madhur Bhandarkar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan launched their new project Heroine. Madhur described it as the edgy, personal journey of a superstar, but Aishwarya was quick to clarify that it is not an autobiography. When asked why the project was being launched in Cannes, Ronnie said that this was a movie that would hopefully help to “morph Indian cinema to the next level.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m intrigued.
Meanwhile, on the movie front, there doesn’t seem to be any clear Palme d’Or front-runner so far. But odds are that Tilda Swinton’s searing performance in There’s Something About Kevin makes her a leading candidate for best actress. The most fun I’ve had in the theatre so far has been at the decidedly un-Cannes Kung Fu Panda 2, which is a worthy successor to the original. It’s visually rich, high energy and surprisingly emotional. Incidentally, Jack Black, who plays the panda Po, said he prefers animated movies because being a voice actor gives him more “fashion freedom.” When I asked Angelina Jolie about it, she said she too loved going to work in her pyjamas!!
The writer hosts Picture This on NDTV 24 X 7