India can at Cannes 2015

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Sonam Kapoor, Aishveryaa Rai Bachchan and Katrina Kaif made the red carpet experience worth watching


By Manju Mittal

Cannes International Film Festival is like a dream, a meeting place for film lovers to share their passion for cinema. This was my second time in Cannes. I never thought that I would be going to Cannes again but by good fortune I went to attend the prestigious Cannes festival for the second time and was proud to represent my newspaper The Indian Down Under.  Cannes is not only the biggest International festival but also is one of the most glamorous and oldest Film Festival in the world. Each year Cannes attracts more than 35,000 film professionals and over 4.500 journalists all over the world. It is an unparalleled cinema carnival.

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The 68th Cannes International Film Festival kicked off on May 13, 2015 in glittery style. French actor Lambert Wilson hosted the Opening and the Closing Ceremonies of the Cannes film festival. The festival opened with stars from Opening French film ”˜La Tete Haute’ (Standing Tall) directed by Emmanuelle Bercot. A film by French woman, this was the second opening film at Cannes festival’s history to have been directed by a woman. I was fortunate enough to meet the entire cast before screening at the Majestic hotel and enjoyed watching the film after the opening ceremony. The inaugural film was well appreciated at the first day of festival especially by French Cinema.

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Manju - Cannes 2Manju - Cannes 9The Cannes International film festival is a master class in precision. Everything is micro managed, right down to which direction the stars look in as they pose on the red carpet so that the camera persons can capture the incredible fashions flaunted by the stars. Beautifully dressed Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities walk by in their dazzling ethnic gowns.   Despite the hot sunny weather I loved to watch thousands of fans gathered to grab a glimpse of their favourite stars.

India has become hugely popular at Cannes film festival. Three Indian beauties Kartrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wowed with every appearance at red carpet.  Katrina Kaif was in elegant black grey gown with the shimmering sequined in her red hot gown by Elie Saab, with an eight inch heels that completely nailed the look. Sonam Kapoor has always been up to the mark when walking the red carpet and this year was no different. She walked the red carpet in a Royal blue gown by Ralph & Russo Couture. Former Miss World Aishwarya, being the brand ambassador of L’Oreal is a regular at Cannes and she has been the queen of the red carpet since 14 years. She looked extremely stunning and fresh in her sheer green gown by Elie Saab with wavy hair green eye liner to her beautiful eyes, her plum lips simply carried the look with grace. She was blowing kisses to her fans and posing confidently with that perfect smile.  Actors Nandita Das, Mallika Sherawat held the Indian fort at the ongoing Cannes film festival. The red carpet is highly regulated by tradition, Cannes banned women without high heels this year. Celebrities told to stop taking selfies on the red carpet.

Swedish Hollywood actress Ingrid Bergman was the star of the Official festival poster at Cannes film festival this year. David Seymour’s photograph paid special tribute to Bergman for her contribution to Cinema, as part of the tribute to Bergman the Swedish documentary, Ingrid Bergman in her own words was screened at the Cannes Classic section.

It was truly a joy to experience and see films from all over the world for their big premiere with thousands of people who had come to watch a fine selection of films by the festival. There were a few Indian movies screened at Cannes film festival. Indian cinema is currently witnessing a new wave in terms of its scripts and screenplay. French audience are attracted to Bollywood movies like everyone in the world. The special screening of movie ”˜Feast of Varanasi’ took place in Cannes on May 15, it is a brilliantly made movie by director Rajan Kumar Patel. Another Indian movie I enjoyed watching was Anurag Kashyap’s ”˜Bombay Velvet’. Watching French, Chinese and Documentary films was quite special. My favourite film at the festival was Opening French film ”˜Standing Tall’. The hall was full and audience responded to the film with strong applause.  ”˜Masaan’ directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, a Sri Lankan film ”˜Dheepan’ directed by Jacques Audiard and ”˜Feast of Varanasi’ are films that have tried to make the global audience realise that contemporary Indian films have much more to offer than the regular song and dance. I did not realise while hanging out with ”˜Dheepam’ stars that it would surprise us all by it winning the coveted Palme d’Or.

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It was heartening when I bumped into three friends from back home Australia, Film Maker of ”˜UnIndian’ Anupam Sharma, Distributor Vvikas Paul and CEO of Australia and India film fund Devendra Gupta.

Besides the festival I loved Cannes for lot of other activities around the festival that included beach, restaurants parties and French culture. It was truly a delight to hear French language while they converse among themselves. Lighting decorations, artistic displays attracted maximum crowds. I enjoyed the night life in Cannes the town is lively and awake all night. Wish I was staying closer to the festival within walking distance. Located far from the action restricted us what all we could do yet we made the best of Cannes moving to various places. I also walked little narrow streets and had a blast doing so.   I had fantastic meeting with so many journalists from all over the world. I visited Indian Pavilion and Screen Australia office few times and attended Bollywood talk sessions and events. Cannes. Press Conferences were well coordinated as they divulged the inner working of cinema to all the curious media persons who had congregated in Cannes to cover this prestigious festival.

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Manju - Cannes 7Like all good things come to an end, so did the Cannes Film Festival. Awards were announced at the Closing Ceremony. The best film honour Palme d’Or, was awarded to Sri Lankan Film ”˜Dheepan’ directed by Jacques Audiard. The film is about a former soldier, a young woman and a little girl who pose as a family in order to escape the civil war in Sri Lanka. The grand prize (the runner-up) went to ”˜Son of Saul’, directed by Laszlo Nemes. The best actress honour went to two actresses: Rooney Mara for ”˜Carol’ and Emmanuelle Bercot for ”˜Mon Roi’. Vincent Lindon won the best actor award for his performance in ”˜The Measure of a Man’. Hou Hsiao Hsien won he best director prize for ”˜The Assassin’. The Jury prize went to ”˜The Lobster’ the surreal drama by Yorgos Lanthimos.

Cannes film festival was an unforgettable experience for not only did I get to experience a great film festival but also met with the most talented and amazingly passionate people during my twelve days stay in Cannes. Cannes has given me so much exposure and information about the festival it has allowed me to see the excitement of crowd, Frecnh culture, language and fine French food. Apart from all that the festival is one of the best time to be in Cannes and definitely the best time for a Bollywood buff such as me. I have lived every moment, every minute to be near the glamour not just from Bollywood, but Hollywood as well as film personalities from all over the world gather in one place. All willing I may be there even next year.


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