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Many firsts for Indians at Cannes

Mainstream Mumbai cinema is once again missing from the fest. Preity Zinta will lead the Indian glam brigade at the Cannes.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 18:48 IST

India is set to go all out to make its presence felt at the 59th Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off in this French Riviera town on Wednesday, although mainstream Mumbai cinema is once again missing in action.

A fair sprinkling of Mumbai showbiz personalities, including Karan Johar and Preity Zinta, will descend on the Croisette promenade this year in the hope of securing global purchase, but Bollywood movies, not surprisingly, are off the official radar of the event.

India drew a blank at the Cannes Film Festival official selection last year, as it did in 2004. The last Indian film to be showcased in Cannes was in 2003 - Murali Nair's rather disappointing Arimpara.

The latest edition of the world's premier film festival will, however, see Indian cinema registering several significant firsts.

For the first time ever, India will have a full-fledged pavilion in the Cannes Film Market's International Village - it is made up of a row of snow-white tents that run along the beach off the Croisette.

Preity Zinta will lead the Indian glam brigade at the Cannes. She will promote her upcoming film, Kabhi Alvida NaKehna, at the glorious fest. She will be accompanied by director Karan Johar.

Numerous Indian production and distribution outfits, including a few from down south, will be peddling their wares from this pavilion. An unprecedented number of Indian showbiz companies - around 80 - will be in the thick of the Cannes Film Market action this year.

No less, a student of Kolkata's Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute,, will be in the Cinefondation competition for diploma efforts with a 31-minute short film, Tetris.

A jury headed by Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky will judge the films in the Cinefondation and short films competition. The jury includes French actress Sandrine Bonnaire and the celebrated filmmaker from Mali, Soulemayne Cisse.

A 33-year-old animator from Mumbai, Gitanjali Rao, will seek to make her presence felt in the sidebar Critics' Week with a 15-minute film, Painted Rainbow. The film focuses on the story of a woman who seeks escape from the drudgery of urban existence.

Dev Benegal, armed with the screenplay of a film titled Road, Movie, will figure in the prestigious l'Atelier alongside 17 other filmmakers from around the world. The Atelier, founded by Cinefondation, helps filmmakers in finding co-production partners for their upcoming projects.

In yet another first, a bunch of 30-odd filmmakers from different parts of the country have created a combine, Indian Independent Filmmakers (IIF), that will go all out in Cannes this year to prove that there is more to cinema from this part of the world than Bollywood glitz.

Respected names like Ketan Mehta, Sudhir Mishra, Vijay Singh and Pan Nalin will be on the IIF roster. Other Indian filmmakers who will be in Cannes under the IIF umbrella are Krishna Shah, Aditya Bhattacharya, Shonali Bose, Vinta Nanda, Bharatbala, Ashvin Kumar, Anup Singh and Manu Rewal.