Cannes 2024: India Pavilion opens at festival with a new name ‘Bharat Pavilion’

The inauguration was attended by Cannes Film Festival deputy artistic director Christian Jeune, Indian-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta (best known in India for the web shows ‘Delhi Crime’ and ‘Poacher’) and Jawed Ashraf, Indian ambassador to France

Updated - May 15, 2024 06:05 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2024 04:46 pm IST

Festival workers lay the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals on opening day of the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Festival workers lay the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals on opening day of the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | Photo Credit: Daniel Cole

The India Pavilion, rechristened the Bharat Pavilion, was formally opened on Wednesday morning at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

Explaining the rationale behind the renaming, Sanjay Jaju, secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting, said: "It symbolises the country's assertion of its traditional storytelling practices while it actively looks for collaborations with the rest of the world."

"India," Jaju said, "is the sutradhar (narrator) of the world." The large Indian presence in the festival is a recognition of that status, the secretary added.

The astounding variety of films that India produces and the growing importance of the Diaspora combine to bolster the reach and impact of the nation's "soft touch", Jaju said, adding that he would refrain from using the word "power" in the context of Indian cinema.

"We are happy that India is back in the Cannes Competition with a film by a gifted young filmmaker," he said. "This festival is a platform for networking and collaborations that transcend geographical boundaries."

The inauguration was attended by, among others, Cannes Film Festival deputy artistic director Christian Jeune, Indian-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta (best known in India for the web shows "Delhi Crime" and "Poacher") and Jawed Ashraf, Indian ambassador to France.

Ashraf, in his address, said: "For many people, the Cannes Film Festival is about fashion and the red carpet, but more than anything else it is about cinema and the business of filmmaking."

"The festival brings together the very best of world cinema and the work of filmmakers who will be the best in the future," he Ashraf added.

The substantial number of Indian films in the Cannes Film Festival this year, the ambassador added, is an acknowledgment of Indian cinema's growth in terms of diversity of genres, themes and approaches.

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