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India Will Not Show At Cannes This Year, Much Like The Last

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Like last year and the year before last, India will have no major representation at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival that will open on May 17 and go on till May 28.

Only two films – Payal Kapadia’s short film, Afternoon Clouds, a Film and Television Institute of India student production, and Village Rockstars, a short film in post production, by Assam’s Rima Das – have been selected for Cannes from India this year. The former will be part of the section for film school projects, while the latter will be part of a new work-in-progress section at the film market. 

Interestingly, India had planned to make its presence felt at the Cannes Film Festival this year, to mark the 70th year of India’s independence coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Cannes Film Festival. A high-level Indian delegation, led by information and broadcasting minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, and the National Film Development Corporation had been planning to set up a film market at the festival, which is one of the most influential film industry destinations in the world. However, after the official selections for the festival were announced on April 13, India cancelled its programme at Cannes. 

Last year, Bollywood films like Raman Raghav 2.0, directed by Anurag Kashyap, and Sarabjit, directed by Omung Kumar, premiered at sidebar events of Cannes

This time, SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali will be screened at the Marché du Film, a film market event taking place alongside the festival. The sidebar screenings are held outside the Palais Des Festivals, the centre of all the festival action, including official screenings, press and market interactions. In the past, several Indian film makers like Mani Ratnam (Guru), Rajkumar Hirani (Lage Raho Munnabhai) and Sanjal Leela Bhansali (Black) have attended a Cannes premiere, hoping to bring their films to more international audiences.

India’s brighter moments at Cannes:

  • In 1946, the first year of the Cannes Film Festival, Neecha Nagar, a Hindi language film directed by Chetan Anand, won the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film. In 1955, the festival introduced Palme d’Or, replacing the Grand Prix du Festival.
  • 1955: Baby Naaz, a child actress who acted in Prakash Aurora’s Hindi film, Boot Polish, received a Special Mention (child actress).
  • 1956: Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali won the Best Human Document Award. In the same year, Gotoma the Buddha, by Rajbans Khanna, won a Special Mention for Best Direction.
  • 1983: Mrinal Sen’s directorial Kharij, won the Jury Prize.
  • 1988: Mira Nair’s Oscar-nominated film, Salaam Bombay! won the Caméra d’Or (“Golden Camera”).
  • 1989: Shaji N Karun’s Malayalam film, Piravi, won the Caméra d’Or – Mention Spéciale.
  • 1999: Marana Simhasanam, a Malayalam film directed by Murali Nair, received the Caméra d’Or Award.
  • 2002: Manish Jha’s short film, A Very Very Silent Film, won the Jury Award in the Competition section.
  • 2006: Gitanjali Rao’s animated short film, Painted Rainbow, won the Grand Rail d’Or Audience Award, Kodak Discovery Award, and Young Critics Award for Best Short Film.
  • The 2013 Cannes Film Festival coincided with 100 Years of Indian Cinema, and India was the official guest country.
  • 2013: Ritesh Batra’s The Lunch Box won the Grand Rail d’Or Audience Award.
  • 2015: Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan was screened in the Un Certain Regard category and won two awards – the FIPRESCI Prize and the Promising Future Award.
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