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Bollywood docu at Cannes

Shekhar Kapur-produced and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra-directed documentary on Hindi film industry to be screened at French Riviera.

bollywood Updated: Apr 27, 2011 14:59 IST
Priyanka Jain

Shekhar Kapur’s documentary-production Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told celebrates Hindi cinema. And now, it will do so at a competition section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 14. “The documentary is a result of a conversation I had with Thierry Fremaux at Cannes last year. He spoke of the international audience’s fascination with Bollywood. But it was his inability to find a film that he could show in the main section, that urged me to make a film especially for Cannes,” says Shekhar.

Director-producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and American documentary filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist (best known for his films Favela Rising and The Scribe of Urabá) have directed this 81-minute documentary about “the most vilified and loved element of Indian films — the song and dance”. It has been co produced by Trishya Screwvala, UTV Motion Pictures.

“Bollywood is a big brand the world over, so we thought why not make a documentary about the funny, lyrical and sensual Indian song and dance without academic interviews in it,” says Shekhar, adding. “Unlike the West, our films don’t need to be called ‘musicals’; irrespective of the genre, every film is rich in its musical content.”

Rakeysh and Jeff have tried to analyse how Bollywood reflects the changing history and moralities of the world’s largest democracy. It describes the Mumbai film industry’s magical sway on two billion people. “Some say it gives identity to 25 million Indians that have left India’s shores and whose third generations are still addicted to it,” he says. Besides Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Indian co-production Mushroom, is the only Indian film that has made it to Cannes this year. Last year, Vikramaditya Motwane’s coming-of-age drama Udaan (2010) was selected in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival.