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Locarno Film Festival shuns Bollywood

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 20:36 IST
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It could possibly be described as the greatest snub Indian cinema has received on an international forum in recent years.

Bollywood cinema has been completely left out this time at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival from August 2 to 12.

On the other hand, the Toronto Film Festival, which follows in September, has an abundance of Indian entries.

How does one explain this dichotomy?

"One can't explain it," asserted cine-aficionado and filmmaker Sunil Doshi. "It's true that Toronto has many notable entries this time including Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. In fact, the Toronto festival loves Mani Ratnam's cinema. They were hoping to get Mani's Guru on time."

Could the warm invitation to Bollywood in Toronto have worked against Bollywood in Locarno?

"I don't think there's a direct connection. A more likely reason why we've zero-representation at Locarno this year is because there's been a change of management at their festival. The new people behind the festival are yet to come to grips with Bollywood's growing merit and impact," said Doshi, whose production Mixed Doubles has just won the 'German Star Of India' award at the Stuttgart Film Festival.

While Bollywood and Indian cinema have had decent representation at Locarno in recent years, this year's exclusion would be tantamount to a black mark for Bollywood in international circles.

Doshi disagrees. "Just see how lavishly we are represented at the Toronto. The festival is trying to build a reputation as North America's equivalent to Cannes. To that extent it's a very important festival for Bollywood.

"Of course, I'll attend the Toronto Film Festival. But I'm not going to Locarno this year. I normally go every year. Last year Mrs Jaya Bachchan, Rituparno Ghosh and I were in Locarno with Ritu's Antarmahal. But what's the point attending this time? I'm taking the time to go to France to research on French cinema."

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