India at Cannes: Limited Presence

The Cannes Film Festival seems to be the flavour of the season, be it the wardrobe, the films or the much-talked about Bollywood presence. It has always been one of the most prestigious and influential festivals all over the world, attended by the who’s who of the film fraternity. It has everything from the gloss, glitz and glamour, the red carpet premiers and endless parties to critically acclaimed film-makers and some of the best movies from across the globe.

Each morning, our Bollywood stars grab the main headlines. The scoops, the scandals, the rumors and every tit-bit issue associated with them becomes more highlighted than probably any other issue of national importance; similar is the case at Cannes. Cannes, a parameter of judging cinematic standards, has hardly shown any attention to Indian films. The ‘glittering’ presence of Aishwarya Rai Bachan is the only thing that seems to have kept the Indian Film Fraternity alive at the festival. The drama of Shilpa Shetty at the popular reality show Big Brother also brought our country into the limelight. Her poise, her charm and her global appeal have made India reach the global masses. However, is this the only kind of attention that we want? India does have a class of sensible directors who have always tried to portray India in a different light. A few years back, films like Pather Panchali and Gandhi made a mark in the international arena. They earned much critical acclaim as well as the accolades of the audience. But now, the same industry is so commercialized that the main purpose seems to rake in the moolah rather than reaching out to the people with sensitive issues.

So what do we really want to see at Cannes? The glitzy oohs-aahs of the Bollywood babes or the low-profile parallel cinema which is really worth a watch? Some directors have done such a commendable job in their films but they refuse to come under media glare. Hence, they do not get their fair share of recognition. Aren’t we unnecessarily ignoring them and diverting our attention to the world of glam? To reform this, we must do some rethinking.

This year is indeed a special year for both Independent India and Cannes as both are celebrating their 60th anniversary. But how do we really mark this golden year in history? Our country definitely needs to pull up its sleeves by sacrificing the commercial factor and concentrating more on the quality of films presented on the silver screen.

All in all, one must conceede to the fact that these Bollywood celebrities come and go every year but what really lasts in the minds of the people is the contribution they have given through their work. Instead of popularizing the stars,  serious cinema as a whole in this festival must be highlighted. This step could permanently mark India’s place in the global world.

Geetika Sachdev

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