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Bollywood's forgettable appearances at Cannes

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Download Paap WallpapersThe Indian showing at Cannes, the world's most prestigious film festival, hit rock bottom this year with copycat films like "Jism" representing Bollywood in the market section.

When the film festival concluded last month, it seemed as though everyone who had a film ready to screen in Bollywood carted it to the seaside resort town in France.

But the facts tell a different story. The Indian representation at the Cannes film festival gets worse with every passing year.

Films like Pooja Bhatt's "Jism" and "Paap", both ripped off from Hollywood films, and Karan Razdan's "Hawas", a faithful adaptation of "Unfaithful" represented Bollywood in the market section at Cannes.

Download Paap WallpapersAnd Indian cinema's sole triumph at Cannes this year -- the screening of Mehboob Khan's "Mother India" in the prestigious classic films section -- was completely ignored by the Indian media.

Media consultant and cineaste Sunil Doshi, who attended this historic screening of "Mother India" at Cannes, was impressed by the rapturous response.

"People from all over Europe saw the film, and they were ecstatic."

Commercial screenings of a few select films released in France have been getting a good response.

"Mother India" was released on June 6 in France with French subtitles. Earlier, on May 26, Karan Johar's "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" was released with French subtitles. His "Kal Ho Na Ho" is also slated for release in France during Christmas this year.

Download Kal Ho Na Ho WallpapersObserved Doshi: "Earlier, mainstream Hindi films were being released abroad without the songs and dances or with our filmmakers being extremely apologetic about them. But now the exotica factor is being welcomed in places like France.

"We need to celebrate that difference. For that, we need to make our cinema more professionally represented at international film festivals."

He added: "We also need to stop misrepresenting facts about our international representation. Journalists in Mumbai irresponsibly reported that Priya Singh Paul's 'A Perfect Husband' and Partho Sengupta's 'Hawaa Aane De' were selected at the Cannes festival. But these were screened in the market section where anyone can buy a stall. The market section isn't an official selection!"

As Indian filmmakers have no idea how and where to send their films, Indian cinema is missing out on proper international exposure.

Download Aishwarya Rai WallpapersActor-filmmaker Makarand Deshpande's film "Hannan", which was invited to the Cannes festival, is a case in point -- the print of the film was found to be of substandard quality and was in the 16 mm format that is against the format prescribed by the organisers.

"This year Indian cinema was very poorly represented at Cannes. The few who were there weren't interested in films. No one has a clue about the films being screened. The objective of expanding the reach of Indian cinema can never be achieved in this way.

"Aishwarya Rai was at Cannes for the first three days. There were other production companies with stalls set up at the festival. Everyone wants to cash in on the fad for Indian culture. Cinema can't be treated like a fast-food stall. Poor Makarand Deshpande didn't know how to get to Cannes," Doshi asserted.

In Cannes' special short-film corner section, Ashwin Kumar's 15-minute masterpiece about a small Pakistani boy who strays into India was completely sidelined by the Indian media.


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