Director Shekhar Kapur will be a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, the mother of all film festivals. Dressed in summer casuals, seated at his Mumbai office, a relaxed Shekhar Kapur says: “It's an honour, for the festival is as prestigious as the Oscars. I'll have the rare opportunity to view and judge some of the most memorable contemporary films. It'll also give me a chance to interact with the best filmmakers from all over the world.”

And, the conversation veers towards his uncles. Recalls Shekhar: “My maternal uncle Chetan Anand is India's first director to win the grand prix at Cannes, jointly with Sir David Lean in 1946; it was for Neecha Nagar. In 1950, he was invited to be a jury member at Cannes, but he refused, as he did not consider himself worthy. He was a visionary, who experimented with cinema the way no one did, during his time. As for Dev Anand, he's dynamic, evergreen and a gifted actor, whose talent hasn't been used to the full. He's envied by the present generation for the way he's carrying on even today! Vijay Anand was a master technician and a perfectionist, who achieved it all with Guide.”

The reputed filmmaker of Masoom, Mr. India, Bandit Queen and Elizabeth, confesses he learnt the art of handling child artistes such as Jugal Hansraj (Masoom), from Chetan Anand. About Masoom, he says: “Man Woman and Child (Erich Segal) really moved me. I received a brilliant script from Gulzar and great support from producer Devi Dutt. And, more than Naseeruddin Shah's and Shabana Azmi's performances, I remember Tanuja's polished cameo in the film. In fact, many consider it one of her best.”

Interestingly, it's been a while since Shekhar Kapur directed. His last tryst with the megaphone was The Golden Age that hardly created ripples. Says Shekhar: “I took a break to refuel my creativity. I believe creativity should happen in private, and be exhibited in public. I plan to start shooting Paani (Hindi) about the current water crisis in Mumbai. It will have Indian and international cast. The script is almost through, and I'm waiting for the casting.”

He has joined hands with actor Julia Roberts, who'll be producing Mallory, a film on the life of mountaineer George Mallory. How will it be to direct a film produced by Julia Roberts? Shekhar smiles: “It's too early to divulge the details. Let's wait.”

Shekhar Kapur once called Bollywood a big bazaar. Does he still believe that? He laughs: “With corporates getting into film production, there's a lot of discipline. Actors are ready to experiment. But, I doubt if Bollywood will ever be able to produce an Apur Sansar or Bhuvan Shome. The aesthetics of the era of Bimal Roy, Chetan Anand and Guru Dutt exist no more.”