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The Indian connection at Cannes fest

Though there’s only one official selection from the country, business side of movie jamboree has ample Indian participation

May 17, 2017 09:44 pm | Updated May 23, 2017 11:51 am IST - Cannes

A view of the Palais De Festival prior to the start of the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 15, 2017. The festival runs from May 17 until May 29. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

A view of the Palais De Festival prior to the start of the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 15, 2017. The festival runs from May 17 until May 29. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

The 70th edition of Cannes film festival may not have any Indian films in the official selection other than FTII student Payal Kapadia’s short Afternoon Clouds in the Cinefondation section, but quite a bit of action seems to be happening in its business counterpart, Marche du Film.

In a first of sorts, the market’s opening party on Thursday is being co-hosted by Narayanan Ramaswamy, Chairman and MD of Chennai-based Thenandal Studios Limited, which had distributed the Tamil version of Baahubali: The Beginning . Other hosts include Thierry Fremaux, the Delegate General of Cannes Film Festival and Jerome Paillard, the executive director of the market. The invitation card highlights the 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence, along with 70 years of the festival itself.

Co-hosting the party seems to be well in tune with the company’s stated aim to make a splash globally as elaborated in their statement in the market guide — “expanding its global footprint by exploring be consistent-production opportunities with like minded studios in North America and China.”

At a luncheon at The Majestic hotel on Friday, they will be celebrating the launch of their 100th film, Sundar C’s Tamil period drama Sangamithra . About a warrior princess in 8th-century India, the movie is being pitched as even bigger and better than Baahubali .

Leading members of the cast and crew — Arya, Jayam Ravi, Shruti Haasan and Sabu Cyril — and Oscar-winning master composer A.R. Rahman are likely to attend the event. It is reportedly the first time a Tamil film is being unveiled at the festival.

“We see a huge opportunity in the growth of Indian cinema. With technology influencing every part of the industry, we at TSL believe in adapting ourselves to newer and innovative content,” Mr. Ramaswamy stated in the market guide.

‘Firm foothold’

TSL claims to have “a firm foothold” in the film distribution business, both for domestic and overseas films, having distributed big blockbuster Hollywood films in the south India.

Thenandel is not the only one. Filmmaker-actor Nandita Das, who was on the Cannes jury in 2005, too will be there on May 23, with her lead actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rasika Duggal, for an open forum on her new film Manto based on the legendary writer Saadat Hasan Manto.

“We have now completed more than half of the shoot. I will take a week’s break to come to Cannes, to show some footage and images and share the journey thus far,” she told The Hindu on via email. Ms. Das was awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France for her contribution towards arts in 2008.

Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra’s mother Madhu Chopra and brother Siddharth Chopra will present their upcoming Sikkimese film Pahuna at the India pavilion. A production of the Chopras’ Purple Pebble Pictures, in association with Sikkim Tourism Ministry, the film revolves around three children who get separated from their parents during the Maoist agitation in Nepal. Majority of the cast and crew of the film will be from Sikkim.

M! Capital, Siddharth Anand Pictures, Original Entertainment and Impact Films are launching the “official Indian remake” of Rambo on May 20 at La Plage Royal in Cannes.

Nandita Puri and Ishaan Puri, wife and son of late actor Om Puri, one of India’s most celebrated actors on the global map, will be at the festival to announce the launch of the Om Puri Foundation. They will be at the India Pavilion to talk about the goals of the foundation and how to take his legacy forward.

Producer Manish Mundra, often spoken of as the patron saint of Indian indie cinema with films like Aankhon Dekhi , Masaan and Newton behind him, will be in Cannes to celebrate his latest achievement — being named as one of the top ten producers of the year by Variety .

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