Some of the most memorable images of Aishwarya Rai, for the past few years, are of her courting the crowd at the Cannes film festival. No, this isn’t another diatribe on her style sense — we are just wondering why do our own film festivals fare so shabbily when compared to the international ones? Considering that Bollywood rolls out the maximum number of films in the world every year, it’s quite a disgrace.
Do film buffs even know that there are nine film festivals in India, both government organised and independent ones? It’s about identity crisis — most festivals fail to strike a recall chord with the audience. Feels Rahul Bose, “A festival needs a well-knit infrastructure, huge fi nances and a network of reputed filmmakers. Indian festivals, however, are at a nascent stage.” Agrees UTV’s business manager, Tanuj Garg, “Indian festivals lack right marketing.
Besides, mainstream cinema will have to be involved more actively.” Our top stars go to Cannes to promote their films, but dodge most Indian festivals. Remember Karan Johar and team at this year’s Cannes for Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna? Recently, Johar, SRK and Aamir Khan courted BAFTA (the British Academy of Film & Television Arts) too. Compare this with the ongoing Osian Film festival in the capital: The biggest star lineup includes erstwhile actress Manisha Koirala and wannabe actor Milind Soman! Though IFFI (International Film Festival of India) attracts glitz, it has a long way to go to enjoy the grand slam status of festivals like Cannes, Toronto, Berlin and Venice.
It’s all about business finally. Says producer Shabbir Boxwala, “Indian festivals need the business element. Cannes is like a big fair where films are bought and sold and you get to network with global filmmakers.” Compare this with the ongoing festival in the city which had to buy space in a national daily to get publicity.