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A unique year for India at Cannes

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Thursday, May 17, 2007
The curtains went up on the 60the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, in the resort town of Cannes, in the south of France. Interestingly, this year the Cannes Film Festival or the le Festival de Cannes, as it is called in French; will be of particular significance to India. As India too celebrates its 60th year of Independence this year, the Cannes Film Festival authorities have generously given India the honour of inaugurating the Tous les Cinemas du Monde programme at Cannes this time.

However, the catch is that the Tous les Cinemas du Monde section is an independent one and not a part of the festival's official selection. To put it tersely, none of the films from India will be in the running for the coveted Palme d'Or award! Nevertheless, there will be celebrations galore for India for being given the honour to inaugurate the Tous les Cinemas du Monde.

Apart from this special honour, on the positive side, there will be a red carpet walk for India on May 19. In fact, two full days have been allotted to "India focus" in the All Cinemas of the World category. Altogether seven Indian films will be screened at the festival during this period. The films from India that would be screened at the Cannes this year includes, Saira (Malayalam), Missed Call (Hindi/English), Guru (Hindi), Dosar (Bengali), Veyil (Tamil), Dharm (Hindi) and Lage Raho Munnabhai (Hindi).

While Rituparno Ghosh has direct the much acclaimed Dosar, which stars Konkona Sen Sharma and Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee. It is a cine-lovers' favourite and portrays the nuances of a crumbling marriage.

This apart, the Indian celebration will see entertainment companies camping at Cannes taking 150 films (mainly for the market section) and 35 new projects. Among these is Ashutosh Gowarikar's eagerly awaited film Jodha Akbar starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. However, unconfirmed sources say that the film might not eventually get a screening due to some technical hurdles.

Meanwhile, Aishwarya Rai has made news and waves at the Cannes red carpet for almost four years in a row; this year beau Abhishek Bachchan kept her company. The actors were given a warm reception at the Cannes. The duo cut short their honeymoon in Venice to attend the glitterati.

A host of top stars from India, especially Bollywood, are also expected to be present at the Cannes this year. They include, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta and Vidhu Vinod Chopra who is all excited to take his Lage Raho Munnabhai and Eklavya to Cannes. Giving him company will be his Eklavya the Big B.

However, all eyes will be on Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart starring Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman. The film is scheduled to open in the Out of Competition category. Co-produced by Brad Pitt, the film is based on the life of American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was slain by terrorists in Pakistan. The parts shot in India brought the unit flak, mainly owing to the conduct of the Bradelina bodyguards.

With its hands full, India would surely be looking forward to Cannes 2007 and beyond.

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