We don’t like Olive branches. Fest films don’t make money in India. We are still not sure about how to say it – is it Cann, Kans or Cannes? French people are rude. There are enough excuses for not making it to the official Cannes list. Or as Balki put it here, “There are no Cannes films in India! Ask why? The day one of those films will be enjoyed by us, our films will be enjoyed by them.” I wish Balki had seen the ruckus during the screening of Biutiful at MAMI last year. And the organisers were forced to have two more shows of the film. “Our” number might be less but that’s no reason to be so dumb and dismissive about it. Not that we ever had any doubts about Balki’s take on cinema (Kill a kid, let the lovers unite – Cheeni Kum/Paa), but this reason puts him in a different league all together.
What’s on the Cannes menu this year?
Well, Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto will walk the red carpet, not for any film but for L’Oreal Paris. This is the perfect combo – an almost has been actor who never earned any points for her acting skills, a daddy’s girl who was last seen in Anees Bazmee’s atrocious Thank You, and the third one whose middle name should be ladyluck. Apart from the brand that they are endorsing, there is only one common factor that all three share – lack of any acting talent. Imagine someone talking to Sonam Kapoor at the fest – So, what was your last release? That’s True Grit.
Blame it on the Fest too? They are all about stars, about sponsors, about big money, but they are also about cinema. About finding that independent and unique voice and putting it on the world cinema map. Even with all the goss and the glamour, you can’t deny that credit.
Mallika Sherawat has also been thereatening to make her presence felt like she did last year and the year before that. Peek a boo-b with some Hisss and you will always get some pics clicked. BTW, have you noticed her twitter handle – it’s MallikaLA. Conspiracy theorists believe that she is trying hard to belong “there” and detach from here. She even got a pic clicked with Barack Obama (Ssshhh..she has new film coming up called Politics Of Love. But it might go direct to dvd. Oops) Or is that just good ol’ photoshop? So MallikaLA, how about changing the handle to MallikaCannes?
Films in competition?
Someone please help me here. When was the last time a desi film made it to the competition section of Cannes? Ok, let’s make the base wider. Competition section of any of the top six (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Locarno) film fests?
Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan was in Cannes Un Certain regard section last year. Bit of googling and you will know that all those countries which are so small that they are difficult to locate on a world map and with names which are difficult to pronounce, even they are making that Cannes cut. Why and how? Blame it all on our bollywood musical and melodrama? Or go back to Balki’s bolly-gyaan.
Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told?
And this isn’t helping much. If we can’t qualify, let’s make a film for them. According to official release….
Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, is the title of a feature film produced by Shekhar Kapoor exclusively for the Festival de Cannes. It will be screened out of competition during the 64th Festival that runs from the 11th to the 22nd of May.
It all began with a conversation with ShekharKapoor, a member of the Cannes Jury in 2010. Why not make a film that brings together the most beautiful moments in the history of Indian musical films, with all their moving pageantry and dance? A few months later, there was Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. It is a swirling and poignant montage in which Shekhar Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist pay tribute to this cinema genre that has contributed to establishing India’s identity in the eyes of the world and to making Mumbaione of the world capitals of film history.
“We love it. We hate it. We see it as regressive. We see it as modern. We need to breathe it to feel alive. Some say it is the only culture that holds India together. Some say it gives identity and individuality to 25 million Indians that have left her shores and who’s third generations that are still addicted to it. That’s Bollywood!”
( Direction Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra et Jeff Zimbalist. Production : Shekhar Kapoor & UTV Motion Pictures with Ronnie Screwvala and Trishya Screwvala. India, 2011, 81mn)
That’s Bollywood! Well, that’s the baggage too. At a time when filmmakers are trying to find their voice, trying new ideas, this montage/documentary/film will reinforce every cliche attached to the cinema of Bollylalaland.
Shekhar Kapoor has written a post about it on his blog – How it started, why and where. And i still can’t sense anything substantial in it except for some razzmatazz on the beats of dola re dola. The intention must be honest, but how about championing a film next time at the Cannes?
( PS – Dear Shekhar, have you seen Aaranya Kaandam?)