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Indian cinema

India made a remarkable impact at Cannes 2024 with diverse film screenings, the grand inauguration of the Bharat Pavilion, and tributes to Indian talent. Find out more about how Indian cinema shone at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival, which opened on May 14, 2024, proved to be a landmark event for Indian cinema. It was a remarkable presence of India this year, with a host of films being screened under prestigious sections, an array of noted attendees, and the inauguration of the Bharat Pavilion in a grand manner.

A Celebration of Indian Cinema

India’s cinematic presence at Cannes 2024 was both wide and diverse. Competing in the Palme d’Or, the highest award that can be won by a film screened at Cannes, was Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light”—a film that stipulated the standard of Indian storytelling. British-Indian filmmaker Sandhya Suri’s  “Santosh” was screened under the Un Certain Regard section, which puts up movies that touch the world. The La Cinef section had Chidanand S Naik’s “Sunflowers Were First Ones To Know” and Mansi Maheshwari’s “Bunnyhood,” both of which blew up the audience with their uniqueness.Honoring Indian Talent

A highlight this year was the tribute to National Award-winning cinematographer Santosh Sivan, who was awarded the prestigious Pierre Angenieux tribute. Sivan also delivered a masterclass, the first for an Indian at Cannes, making for a historic moment for Indian cinema.

The Inauguration of Bharat Pavilion

On May 15, the Bharat Pavilion was inaugurated by  Sanjay Jaju, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France**. The event saw attendance from luminaries such as  Tholoana Rose Ncheke, Chairperson of the National Film and Video Foundation (South Africa), Christian Jeune, Director of Films Department, and filmmaker Richie Mehta. Organized by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, the pavilion served as a hub for fostering production collaborations, knowledge sharing, and networking.

Designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, the pavilion was themed “Create in India” and named The Sutradhara, symbolizing the thread that weaves stories together. It served as a platform for Indian filmmakers to engage in B2B meetings, sign distribution deals, and participate in curated sessions.

Prominent Screenings and Events

Several Indian films made it to the official selection at Cannes 2024.  Karan Kandhari’s “Sister Midnight”  was screened in Directors’ Fortnight, while  Maisam Ali’s “In Retreat”  was part of the L’Acid selection.  Paulomi Basu and C J Clarke’s “Maya: The Birth of a Superhero”  was nominated for the Best Immersive Work prize, and  Pranab J Deka’s Hindi film “Kooki”  was also showcased.

Notably, Manoj Annadurai’s Tamil-English film “Iruvam” thrilled audiences under the “Lets Spook Cannes” category. The restored classic  “Manthan”  by Shyam Benegal also graced the festival, thanks to the preservation efforts of NFDC-National Film Archive of India and restoration by the Film Heritage Foundation.

Unveiling New Projects

The Bharat Pavilion witnessed the unveiling of the trailer for “Paro – The Untold Story of Slavery,” an Indo-US co-production directed by Gajendra Ahire. This film, which addressed the harrowing issues of bride slavery and human trafficking, featured performances by Taha Shah Badussha, Trupti Bhoir, and Govind Namdeo.

Indian Celebrities at Cannes

The red carpet at Cannes was graced by a constellation of Indian stars, including  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Aditi Rao Hydari  for L’Oréal Paris, the official Makeup Partner of the festival. Other celebrities such as Kiara Advani, Shohita Dhulipala, Jacqueline Fernandez, Urvashi Rautela, and Deepti Sadhwani  also made their appearances.

Social media influencers and entrepreneurs from India, including  RJ Karishma Gangwal, Ankush Bahuguna, Sharan B Hegde, Namita Thapar, Niharika NM, Aastha Shah, Viraj Gehlani, Sanjyot Keer, and Nancy Tyagi, joined the glamorous event, showcasing the diverse talent India brought to the global stage.

 Promoting India’s Film Industry

On the second day of the festival, India hosted a session titled “Abundant Incentives and Seamless Facilitations – Come, Create in India” at Marche du Cannes. This session aimed to promote India’s role in the global film industry, highlighting the country’s attractive incentives and facilitation process for co-productions.

Looking Ahead

The festival also saw the unveiling of the official poster and trailer for the 55th India International Film Festival (IFFI) in Goa, scheduled for November 2024. Additionally, the dates for the inaugural World Audio-Visual & Entertainment Summit (WAVES), to be held alongside IFFI, were announced, promising a bright future for India’s cinematic endeavors.

India’s impressive presence at Cannes 2024 underscored the country’s growing influence in global cinema, celebrating its rich storytelling heritage and showcasing its burgeoning talent to the world.

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