The big talking point on Day 5 in Cannes was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s lipstick. When she stepped on the red carpet wearing a beautiful beaded gown and purple lipstick, the internet went into a tizzy.
When I interviewed her a day before, Aishwarya said that she feels no pressure to conform to the fashion police – she wears what she likes. I think no further proof is needed! I have mixed feelings about the lipstick, but I am absolutely admiring of the courage.
Fellow ambassador Sonam Kapoor also said she only follows her own fashion instincts – she stepped out in a dramatic sari-inspired Ralph & Russo gown with a train so long that it needed its own entourage! Both the ladies achieved maximum impact.
I heard the Follow-Your-Instinct mantra from several Indian artists. Anurag Kashyap said he felt a sense of freedom after the Bombay Velvet debacle. He felt that he could go back to what he does best – make edgy, gritty movies that take Hindi cinema in new directions. Case in point: Raman Raghav 2.0, which premiered here in the Directors’ Fortnight. The film, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal, has already sold in several territories around the globe. Nawazuddin is now a Cannes veteran – this is his eighth film to be screened at the festival. But he says, ‘The experience never gets old’. The India Pavilion positively lit up with his entrance, and Nawazuddin spent an eternity taking selfies with admirers.
The star power in Cannes ramped up with the arrival of Ryan Gosling, whose film Nice Guys played out of competition. Dozens of screaming fans stood at the artist entrance of the Palais des Festivals. I caught a glimpse of his back, which should count for something. So far, I’ve had sightings of the gorgeous Juliette Binoche, Donald Sutherland, directors George Miller, Fatih Akin and Jia Zhangke.
The highlight of my last day in Cannes was doing an interview with SS Rajamouli, who is here to speak at a panel about his virtual reality (VR) plans with Baahubali. VR is all the rage globally. And, Rajamouli has always been ahead of the curve. He will be making a VR film, which will release before Baahubali 2 releases next year in April. Rajamouli said that as a filmmaker he was very excited about the potential that VR has to immerse audiences in stories. It’s thrilling to see an Indian filmmaker in step with global trends. I’m going to be first in line for the Baahubali VR experience!
With that, I said farewell to the 69th Cannes Film Festival. I left thinking that Nawazuddin is right – this experience never gets old. I saw some great films, connected with film people from around the world and participated in a brilliantly-orchestrated event – all on the staggeringly beautiful French Riviera. I will admit – I’m a Cannes addict.