A young filmmaker from a small town in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district will be India’s sole representative at the Cannes International Film Festival that begins on May 11 in the French Riviera. Saurav Rai’s 28-min film Gudh (Nest) is the only official Indian entry to compete in the 69th Cannes film festival’s Cinéfondation Selection.
“It is autobiographical. The film is a recollection of my childhood in a very raw and bold form. It also showcases my relationship with my grandparents and parents. My genre of filmmaking is not pleasing to anyone,” said Rai from New Delhi, where he is busy shooting for a travelogue.
To mark its 19th year, the Cinéfondation Selection has chosen 18 films (14 works of fiction and four animations), from among the 2,300 works submitted this year by film schools from all over the world.
Fifteen countries from three continents are represented. Rai is set to leave for Cannes on May 10.
Born in Mangwa near Kalimpong in Darjeeling, Rai’s childhood was split between Mangwa and Kathmandu in neighbouring Nepal in the 1980s. A Satyajit Ray Film & TV Institute student, he has also weaved in hints of the Gorkhaland movement for independent statehood in the film’s background.
Now in Delhi, Rai is aware of the assembly polls underway on Sunday in his Darjeeling district where his grandparents and parents live.
“I would have loved to be there during the polls but my priority at the moment involves learning as much as I can while travelling and shooting. My commitments were made before the election announcements. However, I will try to be there with my family next time because after all, I am a local village lad from Mangwa,” Rai said.
Pushing 30, Rai doesn’t adhere to any particular belief about politics in the north Bengal hills.
“I don’t believe in anything in particular. I feel everyone has to do their part and for me it is to tell stories about people and their surroundings,” he added.