The poster for Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar-inaugurated India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival today at 3 PM showed an interesting list of invitees below the minister’s gleaming face. There was filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and there was actress Kangana Ranaut on the list — the only two typical Bollywood entries — as Prasoon Joshi wears different hats besides presiding over the CBFC, conceptualizing advertisements, writing poems and composing lyrics of songs.
While Kangana Ranaut has made her political position clear, sources in Bollywood say director Madhur Bhandakar can be classified as right-of-centre too. Prasoon Joshi has, anyway, been in the good books of the current government.
“We were at a muhurat (Bollywood ritual to inaugurate a film project with the shooting of a nominal scene). After the shot of a minute or so ended, we gathered for tea and then group photos. Once Bhandarkar had lent his face to several photos, he raised his fist in the air and roared, ‘Jai Sri Ram’!” said a film financier who lives in Delhi.
“We were kind of amused, as the occasion did not quite befit the slogan,” the financier said on the condition of anonymity. When asked, Bhandarkar said he had wanted to let out the emotion for years in the industry but feared he would be marginalised, if not excommunicated, in the trade if his pro-Hindu credentials were known, the financier told Sirf News.
Bhandarkar had tweeted about today’s event 2 h ago.
Kangana Ranaut has been more forthcoming than Bhandarkar. Strident in her calls to seek justice for Sushant Singh Rajput since the shocking news of his alleged suicide arrived, she had been vociferous in raising also such issues the Bollywood gentry normally avoids — the killing of a Hindu sarpanch in Kashmir by Islamic terrorists, for example.
‘Team Kangana Ranaut’ retweeted about the Cannes-related event posted by FICCI:
The development is significant, given that the Narendra Modi government is often accused by its supporters of a certain lack of cerebral content that does not let it appreciate the importance of cultivating supporters in the fields of art, literature, news mediums, etc.
An editor in the film industry said to Sirf News that even Karan Johar, among the big names in the industry targeted for nepotism after Rajput’s death, has met with Prime Minister Modi at least nine times in the past six years. Bollywood biggies have reportedly told the government that while they are aware of the leftist, anti-India, anti-Hindu tilt in the narrative their industry sets, and are disturbed by it, the trade suffers from a serious lack of writers and scriptwriters who can turn the discourse around.
The Cannes Festival, until 2003 called the International Film Festival and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world. Founded in 1946, the invitation-only festival is held annually at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
On 1 July 2014, co-founder and former head of French pay-TV operator Canal+, Pierre Lescure, took over as president of the festival, while Thierry Frémaux became the general delegate. The board of directors also appointed Gilles Jacob as honorary president of the festival.
It is one of the “Big Five” film festivals, alongside the Venice Film Festival in Italy, the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada and the Sundance Film Festival in the United States. The Big Five are internationally acclaimed for giving creators the artistic freedom to express themselves through film. In 1951, FIAPF formally accredited the festival.
The reason for deciding Cannes was because of its touristic appeal as a French Riviera resort town and also because the city hall offered to increase the municipality’s financial participation, including the commitment of building a dedicated venue for the event.
Also read: Cannes film festival not happening in June
Earlier, festival management had considered holding the festival in June or July, after not cancelling the event. In mid-March, the festival’s main venue, the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumière, was converted into a temporary homeless shelter.
In May 2020, it was announced that no physical edition of the festival would take place, but a revised Official Selection of films was confirmed on 3 June 2020. Before announcing the list of films from the official selection, Thierry Frémaux the director of the Cannes Film Festival, said in an interview that he was talking with Spike Lee and also was hoping to have him as President of the Jury on the 2021 edition. He also confirmed that Lee’s film Da 5 Bloods was supposed to be the return of Netflix to the red carpet in the Out of Competition category.