The India pavilion at this 63rd world festival of cinema opened doors on Thursday to a chock-a-block mob, made worse by the presence of Mallika Sherawat, even without serpents (she stars in Hisss, her latest).
Indian Ambassador to France Ranjan Matthai did not fail to notice. “This is my fourth arrival in Cannes at this time,” he said, “and one thing never seems to change. India’s pavilion. Getting into it requires expertise in an ancient Indian sport called kusti.”
The people who run the place seem unable to profit from experience, 2010 being the third instance of too little space for the weight of invitations and publicity. The Festival’s all powerful Director Films, Christian Jeune and the head of the Market, Jerome Paillard, came briefly and left.
The Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Raghu Menon, announced plans to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema in 2013. It will be no empty festivity, he said, because it will be marked by a programme to restore the country’s unique heritage of prints and negatives, currently in sad condition. “It should hit Rs 1,100 billion in value very soon,” he said.
The Festival de Cannes opened on Wednesday evening with Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, clouded over as much by threatening storms (should the famous red carpet be covered with protective plastic?) as by talk of walk-outs in New York previews.