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Four National Award-winning films to be screened at Cannes

After being honoured at the 65th National Awards last month, four regional films have now been hand-picked for screening by the official Indian delegation heading to Festival de Cannes that starts on May 8. The Assamese film 'Village Rockstars', Malayalam feature 'Bhayanakam', the Jeseri film 'Sinjar' from Lakshwadeep and the Bengali drama 'Nagarkirtan' are the selected films. The India Pavilion, organised by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with FICCI, at the Cannes Film Market (the business arm of the Cannes Festival); will see a robust representation from India. For the first time in years, Smriti Irani, the I&B Minister, will lead the contingent.

Irani is gearing up for a busy schedule at the French Riviera with her team comprising Ashok Kumar Parmar (Joint Secretary, Films, Ministry of I&B), Vinod K Jacob (Joint Secretary, ED, Ministry of External Affairs), Prasoon Joshi(Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification), Vani Tripathi Tikoo (Member, Central Board of Film Certification), filmmakers Shaji N Karun (Malayalam), Jahnu Barua (Assamese and Hindi), Bharatbala (Tamil) and Malayalam actress Parvathy (who debuted in Hindi films with 'Qarib Qarib Singlle'). Elaborating on the plans, Vani Tripathi Tikoo told BT, “The agenda is very simple. Indian cinema has to go global. We’re trying to have a comprehensive approach and equal representation for films across languages. Since there are limitations of time and space, we can only accommodate four films this time. Films like 'Nagarkirtan', 'Village Rockstars', 'Bhayanakam' and 'Sinjar' are very important in the larger scheme of things. The idea is to step up our effort to bring films like these into the spotlight which is very difficult for them to achieve on their own. The National Awards underlined the fact that cinema made in diverse languages has immense potential. Hindi films find their way to Cannes with a lot more ease. So, our focus is to pave the way for other films that need that push.” Filmmaker Bharatbala adds, “The film facilitation platform will be aggressively marketed. The point that will be driven home is that India will give a single-window clearance for international film productions to take place in the country. This is our effort to attract more producers to bring their projects here. The reason we have enlisted artistes like Parvathy in the official delegation is because actors also represent our cinema. When people interact with the official Indian delegation, they must also get insights into our industry through our actors, apart from the directors and the writers.” In 1946, Chetan Anand’s 'Neecha Nagar' became the first Indian film to gain recognition at the Cannes Film Festival. It shared the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film (Best Film) Award at the first ever edition of the festival with 10 other entries. Vani points out that since then, the Indian film industry has taken huge leaps forward.


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