If you’re at the 66th Cannes Film Festival (May 15-26), chances are you’ll bump into a Bollywood star at every corner. This year will see the biggest Bollywood contingent at the festival.
Vidya Balan will be part of the nine-member jury that includes the likes of Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee. Amitabh Bachchan will be there, as his Hollywood film, The Great Gatsby, will open the festival. He will have daughter-in-law Aishwariya Rai Bachchan for company.With Bombay Talkies getting screened, its four directors, Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap will be there. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Irrfan are taking their film The Lunchbox (2012) there. Saif Ali Khan will be there, as an alcohol brand he endorses is an official sponsor of the fest; Rani Mukerji will attend as a guest of the brand. Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor and Minissha Lamba will also join the bandwagon.
This is more than a French holiday for Bollywood personalities. Trade pundits hope it will translate into better business in the international market. “Business has improved in the past two years. Countries that didn’t know about Indian cinema are discovering it,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
Taran Adarsh adds, “India doesn’t just have Hindi movies. There’s Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi and more. That’s what we’re taking to the world.”
Uma Da Cunha, programme advisor at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2012, adds, “The Indian films this year are made by a new wave of directors whose style is striking and who convey compelling stories.”
This year, Anurag Kashyap has as many as five films showing at the Cannes Film Festival. While two are directed by him, three are his co-productions.
Bombay Talkies: He has directed one out of the four short films that make up this tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema.
Ugly: His directorial venture that stars Rahul Bhatt, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Ronit Roy, Girish Kulkarni and Siddhant Kapoor.
The Congress: Anurag is co-producing this live action animation film by Ari Folman. Paul Giamatti and Robin Wright are among the actors lending their voices.
Monsoon Shootout: He is co-producing this Amit Kumar film, starring Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tannishtha Chatterjee among others.
The Lunchbox: Irrfan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur star in this film, which is directed by Ritesh Batra. Anurag is the co-producer.