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<i>Traffic Signal</i> woos people from Cannes

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Thursday, February 01, 2007
UNI: Even before its worldwide release tomorrow, Madhur Bhandarkar's Traffic Signal is generating a lot of interest in International cinematic circles.

The film, which revolves around the lives of people inhabiting near a traffic signal, has evoked the interest of officials from the prestigious Cannes film festival, who recently saw the film at a special screening in Mumbai.

Talking to UNI here, the film's director Madhur Bhandarkar informed that officials representing the Cannes Film Festival were recently in Mumbai to view Traffic Signal.

''Yes, officials from the Cannes film festival were in Mumbai about two weeks ago to watch Traffic Signal. They loved the film and wanted the film to be entered in the Film Panorama section at the festival,'' the filmmaker said.

The officials, however, wanted the release of Traffic Signal to be postponed till the Cannes film festival, scheduled next month as according to the rules, a film being entered in the Panorama or competition category should not have been theatrically released.

Producers of Traffic Signal, the Percept Picture Company, however, did not want to postpone the release as they felt doing so would make the film, whose promos were already on air on television channels, look stale.

The participation of the film in the Cannes Panorama section may have not come about but a huge ''pat on the back'' for the film from Cannes filmfest officials has led the filmmakers to seriously think about sending the film to many international film festivals.

Infact, Madhur, who was in the capital earlier this week in connection with the promotion of the film, which stars upcoming actor Kunal Khemu (of 'Kalyug' fame) and Neetu Chandra (of 'Garam Masala' fame) in lead roles and Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranvir Shorey in key roles, said that after the theatrical release of the film tomorrow, he would, in consultation with the producers, work out a strategy wherein they would send the film to several prestigious International film festivals, including Cannes.

''We will work out a definite strategy with the Percept Picture company in this regard. We plan to send the film to prestigious international film festivals like the Berlin film festival and also Cannes,'' Madhur said.

For the filmmaker, the curiosity generated in International film circles by his latest film Traffic Signal is latest in the series of accolades coming his way.

For, his previous films, from Chandni Bar (which dealt with the life of Mumbai bar girls) to Satta to Page 3 (which dealt with life in high class society) to Corporate (which depicted life in the corporate world) have also won for him a heap of accolades - while 'Chandni Bar' won three national awards including a Best Actress award for Tabu, Page 3 also won for him a National award while having the honour of his films being screened at many International film festivals.

Traffic Signal, a third in the trilogy of films by Madhur Bhandarkar depicting life in various sections of the society, portrays life on the streets of Mumbai through a traffic signal, where all kinds of people live, survive, jostle and yet remain human.

At the same time, it also exposes the underbelly of Mumbai by bringing to light the murky face of the industry that derives its livelihood from the motley group of people waiting at the traffic signals - eunuchs, handicapped and impaired beggars, lepers, street kids, drug addicts, and prostitutes, vendors selling flowers, fruits, sunscreens to sunglasses.

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