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Cannes: Ignore no more!

Pity. Its only when Cannes woke up to Bollywood that Bollywood woke up to Cannes!
By Manjulaa Negi | PTI
UPDATED ON AUG 03, 2004 07:20 PM IST

Pity. Its only when Cannes woke up to Bollywood that Bollywood woke up to Cannes! The mother of all film festivals held annually between May 12-22 has seen a significant increase in participation by Bollywood - especially so in the film market.

This year for instance, the Confederation of Indian Industry backed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and National Film Development Corporation was at Cannes to showcase the Indian entertainment sector - read Hindi mainstream fare.

The Indian presence has been rather strong over the years at Cannes but media woke up to the fact only when Aishwarya Rai's yellow outfit did not match the blouse which she wore it with in the year 2002! Seriously speaking, filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Shaji. N. Karun, Murali Nair and many more have been on the Cannes' filmmakers-to-watch-out for list - but then they are so 'artsy' as to not be considered worthy enough to be acknowledged by our very own Bollywood. But Cannes calls one of Bollywood's own - read a certain jury member in her outlandish outfits - and suddenly its one of the most important events on the annual film calendar.

The premiere event, however, this year saw an India Pavilion covering 100 sqm of space. While 70 sqm was located on the ground floor known as Palais, 30 sqm of area was on the first floor called the Riviera. The Riviera is prime space, which is hugely in demand and sees a long waiting list.

This time seven movie outfits exhibited at the India Pavilion, which includes Bollywood distributor CA Films, Narender Hirawat & Co., London-based Indian producer and distributor Inspired Movies, the In Network Entertainment, the Government of Goa, Sun Stone Entertainment, Mid-Day Multimedia, Sahara Mega Features and Culture of the street Films.

Other Indian companies who tried to make their presence felt at the fest included various exporters like - the Eros Group, National Film Development Corporation, Mukta Arts, Raas Entertainment, Kaleidoscope, Insight Productions, Giriraj Entertainment, Dreamworld Entertainment and WEG India. Indian companies are now planning to throw five cocktail parties to promote new films and the "India Night Celebrations" on Carlton Beach are sure to be repeated.

Who in their right mind at Bollywood would miss out on the bonanza that is Cannes, now? After all, it brings together over 7,000 participants from 70 countries, including 16,000 buyers. The one place where films and glamour cover up for hardcore business.

So there are roughly 14,000 screenings of 700 different films, a majority of which are world premieres, and organised in 30 venues. The festival attracts the world’s media attention for its coveted award the "Palme d’Or" and a win means instant world fame.

Indian Presence in the past at Cannes

2003
Murali Nair's Arimpara  (A Story That Begins At The End) selected for the prestigious 'Un Certain Regard' section. The film was funded by NHK, Japan and featured in Vancouver Film Festival and Pusan International Film Festival in Korea.

Aishwarya Rai is member of Jury and talked about more for her outfits than her knowledge of international cinema. Still its Bollywood in Cannes.

2002
A Very Very Short Film by Manish Jha (now of Matrubhoomi fame) won a Jury Prize. But this information was pushed aside by Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas  (starring superstar Shahrukh Khan) which was screened out of competition at the same place!

1999
Murali Nair's Marana Simhasanam (The Throne of Death) wins the Camera d'Or award (given to a debutant director). Nair's Patiyudde Divasam (A Dog's Day) also screened in the 'Un Certain Regard' section. 

1998
Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay wins the CameraD'Or.
Shaji Karun's Vanaprastham  is screened in Un Certain Regard section.
Gautam Ghose's Antarjali Yatra screened in Un Certain Regard also.

1997
Gautam Ghose's Gudia  is screened in Un Certain Regard section.

1995
Susant Misra's Indradhanura Chhai  is screened in the Un Certain Regard section

1994
Shaji Karun's Swaham is screened in Un Certain Regard section

1989
Shaji Karun's Piravi is screened in Un Certain Regard and even gets a Special Jury Mention
Satyajit Ray's Ganashatru  is screened out-of-competition

1984
Satyajit Ray's Ghare Baire is in competition

Mrinal Sen's Khandhar was part of the Un Certain Regard section

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