MAKING A SPLASH IN CANNES:Leading Indian director says films can reach wider audiences


Cannes | May 2013

Alphabet_FILMMAKER Anurag Kashyap  believes it won’t be too long before the world wakes up to Indian film talent and urged the Indian government to support the industry as it moved forward globally.Kashyap made the plea at the 66 Cannes Film Festival  on Friday (May 17) and also reflected on the subject of child kidnapping which is huge in India.

“In one state alone (Uttar Pradesh), 36,000 children go missing every year and it is horrifying – 80-90 per cent just disappear.”The subject  is at the core of his latest film, Ugly, which premiered at the directors’ fortnight section here in Cannes yesterday.

Kashyap is not anti-Bollywood but is the champion of independent Indian cinema around the world.

Last year his two-part Gangs of Wasseypur appeared in the directors’ fortnight here in Cannes and won plaudits from many encountering contemporary independent Indian cinema for the first time.If last year was something of a triumph for Kashyap,  he has gone one better with no less than the four films here having his stamp in one form or another.

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 Alongside Ugly, festival audiences will get to see Bombay Talkies, Monsoon Shootout and The Lunchbox. All these will be screened over this weekend in Cannes.

Kashyap was one of four directors on Bombay Talkies, alongside Karan Johar, Dibaker Banerjee, and Zoya Akhtar. The film was made as a celebration of a 100 years of Indian cinema.

“We need visionary producers,” said Kashyap, highlighting the role of Guneet Monga, who is the CEO and founder of Kashyap’s own production house, AKPL. “She came to us in 2010 and said ‘let’s do a film to mark a 100 years of Indian cinema’.”

Bombay Talkies is made up of four separate and distinct stories shaped in their own way by the four directors.

Kashyap said the directors were free to do what they wanted and that there was no collaboration, only a mutual respect for the enterprise. Bombay Talkies gets a Cannes gala screening on Sunday.

Kashyap helped to bring Monsoon Shootout and The Lunchbox  to the screen as a producer and said that for him a lot had changed.

“Udaan opened a lot of doors,” said Kashyap. “A lot has changed for me – I can go out and do anything.” Udaan was the first Indian film to show at the official section of Cannes after a long gap in 2010, and it was a global recognition for a different type of contemporary cinema emerging from India.

Kashyap said the film helped to open the eyes and ears of the cinema world to what was going on in India. His production company has now assembled a whole array of writers, directors and producers who are passionate about original and not obviously commercially driven work.

“It allows me to be brave and push boundaries,” said Kashyap.

But he said for work to be more widely seen and promoted globally, the India government had to do more. He cited the example of South Korea, which routinely has films appearing the competition and most prestigious section of the festival.

“It’s often the first and most important step – we need to open those spaces (for other filmmakers to go through),” Kashyap said.

India’s Uday Kumar Varma, secretary at ministry of information & broadcasting, and heading the country’s official delegation in Cannes, is expected to announce  at the very least, further moves towards single clearance window for the filmmakers wanting to shoot in India.


Anurag Kashayp in conversation with Rajeev Masand at Cannes Pics: SR

Kashyap welcomed this and said it was important in helping facilitate co-productions, where a film is often financed by several companies and several countries.

Talking about Ugly with a largely French audience after its premiere screening, he said the inspiration had come for it out of his own relationship with his daughter, who had complained about not being able to spend enough time with her father.

It was also, he said, about confronting his fear of losing someone very close to him.

Sailesh Ram reports from Cannes Film Festival 2013

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