Posts Tagged ‘Cannes Film Festival’

It seems like another good year for desi indies at Cannes. Two films have been selected in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival this year, and interestingly, both the films are Indo-French productions. Masaan (Fly Away Solo) is directed by our own Neeraj Ghaywan and written by Varun Grover. Both are editors and contributors at moiFightClub.

The second film is Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot.

Here are the details –

MASAAN (Fly Away Solo)

Synopsis

Four lives intersect along the Ganges – a lower-caste boy in hopeless love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a sexual encounter ending in a tragedy, a hapless father with a fading morality, and a spirited child yearning for a family, long to escape the moral constructs of a small-town.

Neeraj Ghaywan had won the Global Filmmaker Award at Mahindra Sundance 2014 for Masaan, and was also part of the prestigious Mahindra Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab (Now Dhrishyam Sundance Lab).

The film is an Indo-French co-production produced by Manish Mundra, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé productions.

Cast

Richa Chadda, Sanjay Mishra, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Vineet Kumar, Pankaj Tripathi, Bhupesh Singh, Bhagwan Tiwari, Satya Kam Anand and Nikhil Sahani.

Crew

Director : Neeraj Ghaywan

Writer : Varun Grover

Editor : Nitin Baid
DoP: Avinash Arun Dhaware
Songs composed by: Indian Ocean
Background score: Bruno Coulais
Sound: Sanjay Maurya, Allwin Rego & Gilles Benardeau
Casting Director: Mukesh Chhabra
Costume: Shruti Kapoor
Production Design: Ranjit Singh
First Assistant Director: Karuna Dutt
Co-produced by: Dipa De Motwane

Associate Producers: Ranjan Singh and Rati Shankar Tripathi.

Chauthi Koot

Chauthi Koot (Fourth Direction), Gurvinder Singh’s second movie after Anhe Ghore Da Daan, is based on two short stories by Punjabi writer Waryam Singh Sandhu. Chauthi Koot has been co-produced by Kartikeya Singh and Sunil Doshi in India, and Catherine Dussart in France. The film is about the state-sponsored crimes of the 1980s and the resistance movement it spawned.

Lunchbox

Aha, this is what you call a break out film. First, premiere at Cannes Film Festival in International Critics Week. Followed up by rave reviews. Then the Grand Rail d’Or Award. And now, the big news – Sony Classic Pictures picks up the US rights of the film.

According to this report in Variety,Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all U.S. rights to Ritesh Batra’s feature debut “The Lunchbox”,  a Cannes Critics’ Week standout.

Copy-pasting excerpts from the report…..

Repped by Germany’s The Match Factory, the Mumbai-set crowd-pleaser got a standing ovation following its Cannes unspooling.

At Cannes, SPC also acquired all U.S. rights to Iranian helmer Asghar Farhadi’s Paris-set drama “The Past,” starring Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim, which is vying for a Palme d’Or.

SPC has a strong track record when it comes to acquiring foreign arthouse films with strong Oscar potential. Last year, it nabbed Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” which was nominated for five Oscar nods and won best foreign-language film.

Gaul’s Happiness Distribution also picked up ”Lunchbox.” It is one of four Indian entries that bowed at Cannes, which is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.

No wonder many critics already termed it as a film with crossover appeal. Click here to read the reviews here.

The Lunhcbox.jpg large

Also, the film recently bagged the Grand Rail d’Or Award at Cannes.  According to DearCinema, since 1995, a group of rail worker film enthusiasts presents the Golden Rail awards to two films in Cannes Critics’ Week: Petit Rail d’Or for best short film and Grand Rail d’Or  for best feature. So it’s kind of viewers choice award.

Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, the film stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith and Bharati Achrekar. To read its official synopsis and full cast/crew details, click here.

ApprovedCelluloudMan

Pain is temporary, film is forever” – Michael J. Fox

Unfortunately, it is not. And neither are memories, both die, if not carefully preserved. Without memories, the past is a blank slate, existing in a space where we cannot touch it. Without a past we are a blank slate, forever trapped in a present that makes little sense. Films, like all our art, keeps our past safe, for us to delve into and understand how we came this far and, more importantly, where to go from here.

P.K. Nair understood this and scraped together our largely dissipated past, bit by bit, literally from across the country’s landscape and even beyond. What I felt when I heard that was sheer awe. And awe-inspiring is everything about Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s documentary, “Celluloid Man”.

The film is the centre of attention right now, thanks to a much-deserved release (a shout out to the rare PVR Rare!), the National Awards, the Cannes selection and especially the centenary of our much-maligned yet much-beloved Hindi Film Industry. Much has been written about it so I’d like to simply share what the film did to me instead.

I like watching documentaries in the theatre. Especially our Indian docus which, by default, generally have a rusty appeal that somehow get an exotic aura in the hall. I also like everything old and forgotten; its romance and nostalgia, and the bitter-sweet pain that memories always bring with them. Celluloid Man, smelling of museums and ruins, was tailor-made for me. I walked in with the same excitement, same anticipation I had while watching Hugo, except that this was a bit more personal. This was about history that was specifically ‘mine’.

I settled down and there was this old, decrepit man detailing first-hand, his journey of collecting films and teaching a stubborn India the importance of preserving its history. How he salvaged the print of Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Kaliya Mardan’ and put the film together with little besides Phalke’s small notebook and his own diligence. How he travelled to remote corners of the country to collect film negatives, even bits. How Ardeshir Irani’s son confessed to having sold his father’s negatives for silver extraction. How he made prints of films that came to FTII for screening without bothering about permission. How he bargained and bartered copies of Indian films for foreign ones. His meeting with Langlois of Paris’ Cinematheque (I particularly loved how unimpressed he was about the meeting with what seemed-like a rather stuffy Langlois purely from the way Nair saab relates the meeting). And how much he now misses being close to what was probably the only love of his life, films.

But that was not all. The legendary man has a legendary memory of the location of every scene in every film he has archived. The NFAI under him collected 12,000 films, 8000 Indian and 4000 foreign. The mind boggles, yes. But that is not all, as he walked around FTII he also recollected memories of the old Prabhat Studios effortlessly. Of a certain make-up room at the then Prabhat Studios and now FTII campus that was Madhubala’s favourite. Of a certain wooden floor having a tank underneath to convert it for outdoor water sequences. Of the sturdy equipment still in use. Of Prabhat Studios being modelled on the best of Hollywood indoor studios. His memory and appetite for trivia seemed as marvellous as his legacy.

Even more marvellous was to watch the number of lives he touched. Lives of the very people who have created our celluloid history. It was immensely humbling to watch each one of them speak ever-so-warmly about their association with him. Of Girish Kasavaralli recalling how his thoroughly neglected Ghattashraddha was restored and archived. Of Jahnua Barua talking of how Nair saab helped him out by giving him a much-need job which he suspects was an unofficial arrangement. Of an aged Jaya Bachchan recalling with the pride of a young student how she was the only girl allowed for night screenings because Nair saab vouched for her dedication. Of Naseeruddin Shah gleefully talking of surreptitious screenings of censored cuts. Of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s awe at being handed the print of Godard’s Breathless to study for as long as he wished. He came across as this strict Guru, dedicated to authentic instruction and learning, willing to go to any lengths to open up a student’s horizons if he sensed the hunger. And of Gulzar saab warmly (rightly) placing him next to Dadasaheb Phalke in importance to our film history.

mini-still_celluloid_man_2

The film packed in bytes with so many important film personalities, right from Sitara Devi, that it felt like some sort of a masterclass in itself. Maybe it is to accommodate their presence then, it has a loose structure. It pans out as a long-winded stroll down memory lane piecing together the painstaking effort of Nair saab’s work with the sole purpose of celebrating the man and his achievements through his and other’s eyes. I didn’t mind the rather meandering and sometimes repetitive narrative solely because this is one film that proves Roger Ebert wrong. The ‘what’ matters more than the ‘how’. Besides, where do you ever get to listen to the likes of Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Kumar Shahani, Gulzar saab, Saeed Mirza and Shyam Benegal at length, at one place?

The film is an unabashed ode, yet, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur takes care to include controversies surrounding the exclusion of Nair saab post his retirement. Neither does he shy away from asking him a tough question, framing his habit of making copies without permission as ‘stealing’. And keeping the camera rolling through an uncomfortable silence and a louder repetition of the question. It could have been edited out but it wasn’t.

He also goes beyond the purview of Nair saab’s work, into his personal life to give us a better glimpse of the man. Unacknowledged, but I was dreading this part. When have men with a singular passion ever had happy personal lives? What followed were long and touchingly forthcoming interviews with Beena Nair, his daughter who confessed how father was never available during her and her brother’s childhood. But now things had changed as she had accepted that it wasn’t lack of love for them but too much love for films that kept him away. I didn’t want to look at her face closely or read her emotions because it seemed like a preciously personal part of her past she was sharing, who am I to peek into someone’s pain? It touched a raw nerve nevertheless. Having an emotionally unavailable parent isn’t easy, I have one. Besides, there is this incident from childhood sharply imprinted on my memory that it sruck. My father is a huge fan of the Gujarati shayar/poet Mareez. He quotes him off-handedly at any point with a look of pure bliss. Once, he had the opportunity to meet him, that too at his home. My gushing dad asked Mareez to recite a few lines for him and Mareez saab obliged. After the recital, his daughter came forward and thanked my father and said something like, ‘Thanks to you we heard father’s poetry today. He never shares anything with us, ever. He is in his own world, it’s like we don’t exist.’ As a child I understood the girl, as an older person with a few insistent passions of her own, I understand Mareez and Nair saab too today. Passion does that. Separates you from everything. You are alone in it, because there you are already with that one thing you love, you don’t need anyone else.

In more than two hours, what I saw unfold onscreen was a meta experience. A while into the film and it became difficult for me to distinguish between Nair’s passion for films and Dungarpur’s for Nair saab’s work. Because, passion, after all has only one language and if you speak it you understand it and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur clearly does. It made me emotional to see that kind of drive for something considered unimportant and a mere commodity. Because, in my eyes, what the two men had done was save me a chunk of my history, not only as culture but as art via the very medium I love so much. How can I thank them enough for that?

I am leaving you with some of the quotes from the film that stayed with me. (might not be verbatim)

You can see a hundred years from now; you can see a certain aspect of life which was there only at the time, on that day. It means a lot. It means more than Greek Tragedy where everything is heightened beyond compare. But those very small things get so beautifully manifest (on film). It is the very, I think, soul of art of any kind.” -Kumar Shahani

(It is important for us to preserve our past because) “We have a rich past but a very poor history, whereas the West has a significant past. (Perhaps) Not a rich past, but a very significant history.” – U. R. Ananthamurthy

Before P.K.Nair, there was no one else. After P.K. Nair there is no one else.” – Shyam Benegal

As an archivist I cannot accept that we have lost forever the print of Raja Harishchandra”. – P.K. Nair

As a film lover, I cannot accept that either. But at least we had Nair saab.

I don’t remember the last time I felt so raw while watching a film.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

We all know about Miss Lovely, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Peddlers going to the Cannes. But apart from these three films, there’s a very important Indian film which will be at the festival this year – Uday Shankar’s 1948 classic film Kalpana. The restored print of Kalpana will be screened in the Cannes Classics section.
The other important films in the Classics section this year includes Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a time in America, Roman Polanski’s Tess, Spielberg’s Jaws, The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Runaway Train by Andrei Konchalovsky. Since we really don’t have a habit and culture of preserving our cinema, i was wondering how did this happen. Then through a common friend i got to know about ad filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, who is instrumental in making it happen. I asked him to share his experience on the same and he happily obliged. Read on.

I’ve been attending a festival called Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy for the last few years. This is a festival of restored films and it really amazed me what fantastic work they were doing at the restoration lab in Bologna. They work very closely with the World Cinema Foundation (WCF) headed by Martin Scorsese, who have been doing remarkable work restoring films from all around the world. Last year one of the representatives from WCF mentioned to me that they had been trying to get an Indian film called “Kalpana” directed by Uday Shankar for restoration. They had been trying for almost three years to get the film cans out of India, but they had not been able to do it for various reasons and they had given up.

I had seen Kalpana at a private screening that I had paid for at the Archive in Pune and I knew it was an extraordinary film especially from the point of view of dance and the use of light. I promised the WCF that I would get the film for them to restore, but they were sceptical given their previous experience. Even I didn’t anticipate the extent that I would have to run from pillar to post for this.

I knew the Shankar family and that I was working very closely with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) for my documentary on P.K. Nair called “Celluloid Man.” I met Amala Shankar (Uday Shankar’s wife) in Kolkata along with her daughter Mamata Shankar and daughter-in-law Tanusree Shankar . I had to request them to procure a legal opinion from their lawyer as there was some litigation regarding the rights of the film that needed to be clarified before WCF could go ahead with the restoration. After a lot of persuasion and several trips to Pune, the NFAI also agreed after I showed them a letter from Martin Scorsese stating that I represented the WCF in this matter and on the condition that I took the onus of sending the cans to Italy and ensured their return. So in a matter of a few months, I managed to send the film to Bologna from my office in Mumbai. In fact, I am responsible for the negative.

I’ve been hearing great reports on the restoration and the lab in Bologna worked round the clock to ensure that they could premier the restored version of Kalpana at the Cannes Classic section. The WCF have very kindly invited me and Amala Shankar for the premier and we will walk the red carpet at 6.30 p.m. on May 17 before the premier. Amalaji is 94 years old and she is thrilled to travel to Cannes and walk the red carpet to see the only film made by her husband in which she played the main role.

At Cannes I have also been invited to see the restored version of Sergei Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America”. As I am a donor for the restoration of Hitchcock’s film “The Lodger”, the British Film Institute has invited me to a screening of their restoration of Hitchcock’s silent film “The Ring” with live accompaniment.

In the West, there is a strong culture of preservation and restoration of films that India completely lacks. This is a shame given what a great cinematic history we have. This is what inspired me to make my documentary “Celluloid Man” on P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India. Mr. Nair singlehandedly built the Archive. It’s thanks to him that film students from the Film Institute, Pune like me had the opportunity to see the work of great filmmakers like Ozu, Tarkovsky, Fellini, etc. My film is a tribute to Mr. Nair and his life’s work and somewhere I hope people will realize how important it is to collect and restore our films.

One of the main reasons, I pushed so hard for Kalpana to be restored is that I am hoping that other Indian films will also get chosen for restoration. As a matter of fact, the lab in Bologna wants to restore Ritwik Ghatak’s “Meghe Daka Tara” and have asked me to help them raise the funding. I am hoping the Indian film fraternity or corporate houses will come forward so we don’t have to rely on the West.

(PS – To know more about the film and why it’s such a big deal, you can read this and this post.)

Yes! F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! Aur mere aankhon me khushi ke aanson aa gaye! Great for him and good for us becuase we cant take any more flooded timelines with his Paani tweets!

It was offcially announced at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival where Shekhar Kapur is on jury. Click here to read the full report by The Hollywood Reporter or scroll down if you are interested in knowing only the key points that matter.  Plus pic and a video attached.

– Shekhar Kapur will direct “Paani” (Water) and the script is by David Farr.

– The budget of the film is $30 million and is produced by Swarovski Entertainment and Adlabs founder-turned-producer Manmohan Shetty.

– Kapur plans to shoot in November with additional backing from Walk Water in Singapore, Dubai and on large purpose-built sets being designed by John Myrhe.

– The project also marks the first full-length feature backed by Swarovski’s start-up entertainment arm.

– A R Rahman is on board as the music director and has already composed two songs for the project.

– Its a love story set in a mega city in a future where precious H2O has all but run out and corporations go to war over its control. The city is divided into two conflicting halves, in which the upper city hoards all the water and drip feeds the slums of the lower city. A girl from the upper tier meets a water rat boy and falls in love against this backdrop.

– “Blue Covenant” author Maude Barlowe is aboard and hopes Kapur’s film will play a part in taking awareness to a whole new level. Danny Boyle will also get producer’s credit.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yes, we were missing in action. The excuses are many and they are all so silly. Here we are back and with an exclusive! The first look of Vikramaditya Motwane’s debut film Udaan! Plus some more! The film is in the official selection list  of Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard Section) 2010. Have a look.

Also, here is the official synopsis of the film….

After being abandoned for eight straight years in boarding school, Rohan returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur and finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father and a younger half brother who he didn’t even know existed. Forced to work in his father’s steel factory and study engineering against his wishes, he tries to forge his own life out of his given circumstances and pursue his dream of being a writer.

The film is written by Vikramaditya Motwane & Anurag Kashyap. Its produced by Anurag Kashyap & Sanjay Singh. Strangely, UTV rejected the script twice earlier but came on board as soon as the film got the Cannes stamp! Not surprising that they produced “Chance Pe Dance”!  It has music by Amit Trivedi and lyricist is Amitabh Bhattacharya. The main cast includes Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia and Ram Kapoor.

And here are some more stills from the film…

And yes, its an official selection. The film will be screened in the Un Certain Regard Section of the festival. Its NOT like flying KITES at Cannes!

Udaan is directorial debut of Vikramaditya Motwane and is produced by Sanjay Singh and Anurag Kashyap. It stars Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Rajat Barmecha and Ayan Boradia. Its a coming of age story revolving around father-son relationship.

Motwane co-wrote Dev D with Anurag Kashyap and has worked in various capacity (read sound, choreography & more) before that. And he must be the only common factor between the cinema of Bhansali (sound designer n AD on Devdas) & Kashyap!

Nikhil Advani had signed him earlier and was supposed to produce Motwane’s debut film. But somehow the film never happened. Thats when Kashyap stepped in and decided to produce Udaan. Nikhil Advani went on to produce Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai! What a deserving tight slap!

Click here to read the complete list of films selected for Competition, Out Of Competition and in Un Certain Regard Section.