Cannes presence a positive step 0
Anurag Kashyap hopes his five-hour epic, The Gangs of Wasseypur, will earn Indian cinema hard-earned respect at Cannes. (REUTERS)
In the past, India's presence at the Cannes Film Festival seems to have been tolerated as something of a good-natured joke.
Since the country's film industry typically revolves around Bollywood's bubblegum scripts and sequin-infused dance numbers, its presence at the French festival could be compared to the proverbial sore thumb. Anurag Kashyap, however, is out to change this perception, and he seems to be succeeding
The independent filmmaker's five-hour epic, The Gangs of Wasseypur, is being screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight strand. The film, a gritty take on India's coal mafia, had its world premier Tuesday to a full house in Cannes. "The buzz is reassuring because we have often come here and were the big joke," Kashyap told the BBC.
Five Bollywood films are being screened at Cannes this year. Kashyap went on to comment that the famed festival is an example of how Indian cinema is transforming. "It's going through real change in the kind of film-makers that are coming out and the kind of stories that are being told."
Although Bollywood still dominates the Indian box office, Kashyap noted the Internet has heralded a new age for Indian cinema. "In India, it's only Bollywood and Hollywood that find mainstream distribution," he said. "To see films which have been shown at festivals, people started going to the Internet."
The Gangs Of Wasseypur combines clever filmmaking with a powerful and entertaining plot. It's accentuated by strong performances by a talented and eclectic cast, including Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Richa Chadda.
European distribution deals have already been announced for Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely, which is showing in the Un Certain Regard section, and Monsoon Shootout from award-winning shorts director Amit Kumar.
"This is great start, and if we keep on making cinema that reaches out to the globe, it will be very empowering," Kashyap said.
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