It is rather surprising that a country which produces more than 2000 films each year, the highest in the world, has such less significance in the international film scene. Though we had a glorious past with filmmakers like Satyajit Ray & Mrinal Sen ruling the film festivals around the world, the contemporary Indian films are not getting that much recognition. Some blame it on the lack of talented filmmakers and some the lobby that advertises Bollywood glamour ignoring the truly great films.
But, the year 2015 is a very important year and can prove to be a turning point for Indian Cinema. Cannes Film Festival has selected Two Indian Films for “Un Certain Regard” section. The films are Chauthi Koot and Masaan. Cannes has two competition sections for feature films, the highest award is the Palme d’Or and the other one is Un Certain Regard. Twenty films are selected for each section. There are other non-competitive section like Camera d’Or and Director’s fortnight.
India at Cannes
In the past, Indian films were very much an integral part of the Cannes Film Festival. In 1946, Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar won the Palme d’Or and till date remains the only Indian film to have that honor. Satyajit Ray’s Panther Panchali won the Best Human Documentary. His film Devi was nominated for Palme d’Or. Mrinal Sen’s Kharij was nominated for the Palme d’Or and won the Special Jury Award. Bimal Roy’s Sujatha (1960), Shyam Benegal’s Nishant (1976) was also nominated.
Mani Kaul’s Satah Se Uthata Aadmi (1981) was the first Indian film to be selected for the Un Certain Regard Section. The other Indian films that were nominated in that section are- Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Elippathayam (1982), Goutam Ghose’s Antarjali Jatra (1988) & Gudia (1997), Murali Nair’s Arimpara (2003), Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (2012). Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988) & Shaji N. Karun’s Piraavi (1989) won the Camera d’Or Award.
There are also other films that were selected to be screened out of competition. Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly, Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Chatrak , Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox are some of the recent films that were screened.
Indians has also served as Juries for the festival at various times. The Indian Juries are- Mrinal Sen, Mira Nair, Arundhati Roy, Aishwarya Rai, Shekhar Kapur, Vidya Balan, Nandita Das.
The Two Gems
- Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction)
The film is adapted from two Short Stories by Waryam Singh Sandhu. The stories are Chauthi Koot and Hunn Main Theek Haan. It is set during the Sikh Separatist Movement of the 1980’s. The film is expected to release in India in September, 2015.
To know more about the film, download the Press Kit released by Cannes>> Download-Chauthi Koot Press Kit
About the Director- Gurvinder Singh is an alumni of FTII, Pune graduated in 2001. His first feature film was Anhe Ghore Da Daan (English: Alms for a Blind Horse) in 2001. It won the National Award for Best Direction and was also screened in Venice Film Festival.
2. Masaan (Fly Away Solo)
The film is set in Varanasi and follows the lives of 4 characters. It got 5 minute long Standing Ovation at the Cannes screening.
The film is co-produced by Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films and is expected to release in India soon.
To know more about the film, download the Press Kit released by Cannes- Download Masaan Press Kit
About the Director- Masaan is the directorial debut of Neeraj Ghaywan. He earlier assisted Anurag Kasyap in Gangs of Wasseypur & Ugly.
The Indian Media Circus-
It is a shame that our Indian Media is still not focusing on the achievements of these two great films. They are busy analyzing the dress Katrina Kaif wore at the red carpet. It shows their ignorance of great cinema and the will to promote meaningless gossips.
In this issue, Nawazuddin Siddique at 2012 Cannes Festival said, “A short film of mine had once won a BAFTA. But nobody wrote about it. Designers didn’t want to give me something that I could wear at the Cannes red carpet. So, I went to a local tailor to get a suit stitched for myself. There is a lobby at work that doesn’t want underdogs to get their recognition. It suits them to not pay attention to them to avoid a threat.”
We sincerely hope, the Media will change its attitude and promote Great Cinema. Even if they not, we truly believe, Internet & Social Media will.
For now, All Our Best Wishes are with Gurvinder Singh & Neeraj Ghaywan.
The Winners will be announced on 24th May. We expect the Award comes to India. Even if it doesn’t, its okay, we’ll keep sending Great Films To Cannes, With Love.
-Thanks For Reading-
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