Cannes 2015 diary: Stargazing at the French Riviera

  • Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times, Cannes
  • Updated: May 18, 2015 17:08 IST

HT’s film critic Anupama Chopra writes about all the action on the third day of the Cannes Film Festival.

Bollywood heroines continue to dazzle on the Cannes red carpet but the real stars of this year’s festival are two filmmakers who aren’t household names like Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Gurvinder Singh, director of Chauthi Koot and Neeraj Ghaywan, director of Masaan, have done India proud. This is the first time in the 69-year history of the festival that two Indian films are in the prestigious Un Certain Regard section. This afternoon, Chauthi Koot had its world premiere at Cannes.

Gurvinder Singh (L) and actor Vikky Suvinder during a photocall for the film Chauthi Koot. (Reuters)

The audience included I&B minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who was introduced to the audience by festival delegate general Thierry Fremaux. Chauthi Koot, an austere meditation on the aftermath of the insurgency on Punjab, is the first Punjabi film to be screened at Cannes.

After the screening, everyone gathered at the India Pavilion for an after party. The India Pavilion is the epicenter for all the India action at Cannes. All day, the space is buzzing with panels and meetings. I spotted Mallika Sherawat and Nandita Das holding forth on co-productions.

British singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini poses on the red carpet. (Reuters)

Earlier in the day, I also ran into Aishwarya Rai Bachchan breezing into the Martinez hotel with her mother, and daughter Aradhya. Despite the long flight, Aishwarya looked fresh and ready for the manic schedule. But then she’s been doing this for more than a decade. Aaradhya is probably the festival’s youngest guest.

Rachel Weisz (L) and actor Colin Farrell as they arrive for screening of their film The Lobster. (AFP)

But the highlights of my day were – firstly, spotting Frances McDormand in the corridor at the Palais des Festivals. She is married to director Joel Coen who is head of the main competition jury here along with brother Ethan. She looked fabulous.

British actor Ben Whishaw during a photocall. (Reuters)

And secondly, meeting the iconic Chinese director Jia Zhangke, who has been described as ‘perhaps the most important film director working in the world today.’ He was sweet, unassuming and he promised to try and come to the Mumbai Film Festival. But when I pressed for a masterclass, he smiled and declined – he said, ‘My English is simply not good enough.’ I assured him that we would find a way.

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