Features & Opinion

Demystifying Cannes Film Festival: India at Cannes 2012

By Nandita Dutta • Published on May 16, 2012

Breaking myths and telling you everything that you should know about Indian films at Cannes Film Festival 2012

Which are the Indian films at 65th Cannes Film Festival?

Miss Lovely by Ashim Ahluwalia in Un Certain Regard

Peddlers by Vasan Bala in 51st Cannes Critics Week

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & 2 in Directors’ Fortnight

Kalpana by Uday Shankar in Cannes Classics

Project ‘The Untold Tale’ by Shivajee Chandrabhushan in L’Atelier

Are Cannes Critics Week and Directors’ Fortnight official selections?

No. They are parallel sections of the Cannes Film Festival.

Then what is official selection?

Cannes Film Festival official selection comprises of Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition, Special Screenings, Midnight Screenings, Cannes Classics and the Cinéfondation.

The most important of the official selection are the Competition and Un Certain Regard. Films that are representative of “arthouse cinema with a wide audience appeal” are presented in Competition, and Un Certain Regard focuses on works that have an original aim and aesthetic.

Miss Lovely and Peddlers compete for Caméra d’Or in 2012

Caméra d’Or is awarded to the best first feature film presented either in the Official Selection, during Directors´ Fortnight or during Cannes Critics Week.

Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and Murali Nair’s Marana Simhasanam won this award in 1988 and 1999 respectively. Shaji N. Karun’s Piravi won the Caméra d’Or – Special Mention in 1989.

Miss Lovely and Peddlers will compete for Caméra d’Or in 2012.

Peddlers directed by Vasan Bala will screen in 51st Cannes Critics Week

Cannes Critics Week is a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival created by the French Union of Film Critics in 1962. Its mission is to honor the first and second feature films by filmmakers from around the world and allow the French Critics to defend and explore the best young creative film.

Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Wong Kar Wai, Jacques Audiard and Arnaud Desplechin made their debut at the Critics’ Week.

DearCinema.com founder-editor Bikas Mishra has been invited on ‘France 4 Visionary Award’ Jury in 51st Cannes Critics Week. More details here.

Peddlers, set in Mumbai, portrays two parallel love stories—between a cop and his married neighbor and a runaway and an immigrant. Read Vasan Bala’s interview here.

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & 2 directed by Anurag Kashyap will screen in Directors’ Fortnight 2012

Directors’ Fortnight is a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival created by the French Directors Guild in 1968.

Since its inception, the Directors’ Fortnight has showcased the first films of Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Nagisa Oshima, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Haneke, Spike Lee, Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Sofia Coppola among others.

The Directors’ Fortnight pays particular attention to the emergence of independent fringe filmmaking, and even to contemporary popular genres, provided these films are the expression of an individual talent and an original directorial style.

Gangs of Wasseypur is a gangster revenge drama spanning six decades and three generations set in Wasseypur, a small cinema obsessed hub in Dhanbad. Read Anurag Kashyap’s interview here.

Miss Lovely directed by Ashim Ahluwalia will screen in Un Certain Regard 2012

Un Certain regard, meaning a certain outlook was introduced at the Cannes in 1978 to present films with all kinds of visions and styles. Mani Kaul’s Satah Se Uthata Aadmi was the first Indian film to find a place in this category in 1981. Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Elippathayam followed suit in 1982 and Mrinal Sen’s Khandhar in 1984. Un Certain Regard is part of the official selection and the second most important section of the festival after Competition.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan was screened in Un Certain Regard in 2010.

Set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry, Miss Lovely follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid-1980s. Read Ashim Ahluwalia’s interview here.

Kalpana directed by Uday Shankar will be screened as part of Cannes Classics

The Cannes Classics programme was created in 2004 to showcase restored prints of classic films and masterpieces of film history.

Kalpana (1948) has been restored by the World Cinema Foundation chaired by Martin Scorsese from a copy of the original negative preserved by the National Film Archive of India.

It is the only film written and directed by noted dancer Uday Shankar. Kalpana is a dance-drama revolving around a young dancer’s dream to set up a dance academy. The film featured Uday Shankar and his wife Amala Shankar in lead roles.

Shivajee Chandrabhushan’s ‘The Untold Tale’ the first Indian project at L’Atelier

The Cinéfondation started organizing the L’Atelier in 2005. Each year, L’Atelier selects about fifteen feature length projects from around the world, and invites their directors to Cannes in order to put them in contact with film professionals. The filmmakers are selected according to the quality of their project and that of their previous films, as well as on the state of progress of their finance plan. L’Atelier enables them to gain access to international financing and speed up the production process.

The Untold Tale is about a young puppeteer’s journey to India that unravels her true identity. The story begins in Spain, travels through France and culminates in Rajasthan. Read Shivajee Chandrabhushan (director) and Triparna Banerjee’s (writer) interview here.

So, is 2012 the biggest year for Indian Cinema at Cannes?

No. India has had a glorious history at the Cannes Film Festival ( See India’s tryst with Cannes). In 1946, the year Cannes Film Festival began, Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar was screened in competition. It won the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film (Best Film) at the maiden edition of Cannes.

In 1953, Raj Kapoor’s Awara was selected in competition while three short films- Kumaon Hills by Mohan Bhavnani, New Lands for Old People by Krishna Gopal and The Great experiment by V.R Sarma competed in the short films category. That means four official selections.

In 1954, Do Beegha Zameen by Bimal Roy and Mayurpankh by Kishore Sahu were in competition while Feminine fashions and Folk Dances of India by Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani competed in Short Films category. Four official selections again!

In 1956, two feature films were selected in competition: Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray and Shevgyachya Shenga by Shantaram Athavale.

In 1974, M.S Sathyu’s Garam Hawa was nominated for the Palm d’Or or the Golden Palm, the highest prize awarded to the competing films at the Cannes film festival.

In the wake of this history, there is no Indian film in competition this year. Miss Lovely is the only film in Official Selection.

However,2012 can easily be called the most remarkable year in recent times with Indian films making it to diverse sections at Festival de Cannes, after a lull in the last decade.

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