Making India proud at the 71st Cannes Film Festival
Vani Tripathi Tikoo writes about the importance of the contribution to be made by Indian cinema.
The air feels fresh and pulsating with the action across this picturesque town. I am at the India Pavilion and it feels very special… Why? Because it is for the first time, after 2002, that the Indian government has made special efforts to not just send a delegation that is truly India representative, but also take critical actions to connect the dots globally for young, Indian filmmakers, simultaneously opening up India for the world.
I call it the real India representation because it looks beyond the umbrella of Bollywood that the whole world puts us under. It’s the real Indian cinema’s narrative told through the four award-winning movies from the most unpredictable cinematic regions we are showcasing: Assam (Village Rockstars); West Bengal (Nagar Kirtan); Kerala (Bhayanakam); and Lakshadweep ( Sinjar, which is in the Jasari dialect)!
Honestly, when was the last time you thought of Lakshadweep and cinema in the same breath? But when you look at cinema on a global platform, languages cease to matter. What matters are the narratives and the skill with which it is told. And trust me, our young filmmakers have devised a style of expression that’s distinctly theirs.
I, for one, am thrilled that we are looking beyond Bollywood, an industry I am very much a part of and thrive within. But India is multi-lingual, cross-cultural, diverse, vibrant. And I feel if a Marathi film can be nominated for an Oscar, then surely there is a very rich world out there that, thanks to the current I&B Minister Smt Smriti Iraniji, is finally finding an expression.
It’s the business of cinema that’s happening at the India Pavilion. And lots are being quietly done, beyond the many debates taking off about how well our actors have dressed on the red carpet. Or not.
We are hosting a series of closed-door sessions with film commissions of 12 countries that we already have a diplomatic treaty with. We will help facilitate the shooting process for our young directors in this country, ensuring that just like India opens its doors and its heart to outsiders, our boys get the same smooth sailing in other countries. Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Victoria & Adbul… so many hot sellers with an Indian narrative have taken off smoothly in our region. Similarly, our cinema should also have the ease of passage. And believe me, treaties are a piece of paper unless governments try and implement them through talks and dialogue sessions. Which is what this government is doing. Salute. Of course, with the ‘Make in India’ policy in place, we are inviting all these countries to our shore with love and grace. With atithi devo bhava!
And then on to my own pet subject. IFFI. We turn 50 soon and we are seeking deeper collaborations with other film festivals like The Berliner Film Festival, The Venice International Film Festival etc. Earlier this year, we had taken a delegation comprising Karan Johar and Bhumi Pednekar to Locarno with the same intention. In Cannes, too, we are lobbying to strengthen our global imprints.
And, of course, the red carpet has sizzled with Kangana Ranaut and Huma Qureshi, who accompany us. Also, India Day, celebrated at Cannes on May 11, was studded with stars from dawn to dusk. The festival, this year, is meeting the new, energised and charged India.
(Vani Tripathi Tikoo is a member of the Central Board of Film Certification, and an actor)
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First Published: May 13, 2018 11:56:35