Festival de Cannes or Cannes Film Festival is an international film festival that opens a platform for the display of global cinema and sheds a light on independent directors and writers from diverse backgrounds. This year, India made its presence felt at the festival through four movie screenings, accompanied by Indian celebrities, social media influencers, and even entrepreneurs representing the country.
That being said, a singular question arises: Has the Indian film industry relegated to just fashion shows, designer outfits, brand endorsements and red carpet walks while side lining the creation of unique films?
Compiled by Joe Mammen John
Pedestrians walk past Cannes film festival logo in Cannes, southeastern France, on May 17, 2023. Cannes Film festival will take place from May 16 to May 27, 2023. This year’s Cannes Festival has seen India shining with four films, celebs, social media influencers and more.
Movie poster for Kennedy - written and directed by Anurag Kashyap with Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone in leading roles. The film revolves around an insomniac ex-cop, presumed to be dead for a long time, who secretly works for the corrupt system and is constantly looking for redemption in various circumstances of his life. Photo: Instagram/@anuragkashyap10
(L-R) guest, Abhilash Thapliyal, Megha Burman, Mohit Takalkar, Rahul Bhat, Sunny Leone, Director Anurag Kashyap, Shariq Patel, Karishma Modi, Producer Kabir Ahuja, Ranjan Singh and guest attend the "Kennedy" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 25, 2023 in Cannes, France. The film was screened at the Midnight Screenings section of the prestigious gala.
Movie poster of Nehemich (Always). A 23-minute short film in Marathi by Yudhajit Basu, co-written by Prithvijoy Ganguly that is set against the backdrop of the pandemic. The film revolves around a teenage girl, isolated in her period during lockdown, who tries to elope with a worker in a nearby windmill. It aims to throw a light on the superstitions surrounding menstruating women in several parts of rural India. It will compete in the La Cinef section of the movie festival and is the only Indian film in the competitive section of Cannes this year. Photo: Instagram/@yudhajitbasu
Yudhajit Basu and Prithvijoy Ganguly at their Nehemich world premiere. The film was screened on May 24 at the Buñuel theatre. Mr. Basu is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Photo: Twitter/@MeenakshiShedde
Poster of Kanu Behl's film “Agra”. The film revolves around “the story of a young boy who is struggling not only with his own sexuality but also seeing the sexual repression of others from the close counter that he knows, be it his father, mother, or mistress, living in the neighbourhood.”, Kanu Behl said in an interview. It was screened at the Directors’ Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival 2023.
Director Kanu Behl and cast member Priyanka Bose pose with team of the film Agra presented as part of the Quinzaine des Cineastes (Directors' Fortnight). “’Agra’ is about sexual repression, the idea of physical spaces and how our repressed sexuality ends up affecting physical spaces around us. And how, in turn, physical spaces end up affecting our sexual lives. It is a play between the two,” Kanu Behl told PTI in an interview.
Movie poster of Ishanou. Aribam Syam Sharma’s “Ishanou” is a poignant tale of love and loss steeped in Manipuri culture that tells the story of Tampha, who abandons her husband and daughter to join the Maibi sect of priestesses, responding to the call of the deity. Ishanou (1990) was earlier screened at Cannes in the UnCertain Regard section in 1991.
Vivid depiction of Maibi culture and traditions and the use of traditional Manipur music gives this film an exquisite aura which could stand the test of time. The film juxtaposes spirituality with the ordinary rhythm of life. Photo: Twitter/@Festival_Cannes
Aribam Shyam Sharma with a camera. The director however couldn’t attend the Cannes premier due to various health issues.
Khusbhu in a traditional Indian attire at Cannes 2023. Speaking at Cannes 2023, actor-politician Khushbu Sundar praised renowned film personalities like A R Rahman, Resul Pookutty, the ‘RRR’ team for their Oscar wins. Khushbu also walked the red carpet in a saree at the film festival, and took part in the India Pavilion event. Photo: Instagram/@khushsundar
Liv Ullmann in a still from the documentary A Road Less Travelled directed by India-born British filmmaker Dheeraj Akolkar.
Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann (L) and Indian director Dheeraj Akolkar pose during a photocall for the film "A Road Less Travelled" during the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 20, 2023. “Liv Ullman – A Road Less Travelled” is the second documentary of Dheeraj Akolkar with Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. It is a follow up to the first documentary – Liv & Ingmar (2012)
Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting L. Murugan with Hollywood actor Michael Douglas at India Pavillion at the Cannes Film Festival 2023. The minister invited him to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa in November. Mr. Douglas had received the honorary Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.
(L to R) Members of the International Critics' Week’s Jury Franz Rogowski, Kim Yutani, President of the Jury Audrey Diwan, Rui Poças and Meenakshi Shedde attend the "Jeanne du Barry" Screening & opening ceremony red carpet at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2023 in Cannes, France. Ms. Shedde was one of the Jury members of the Festival at Cannes this year.
Snippets from the Poster and Trailer release of the Film: Pimbilika Pilapi at the India Pavilion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Snippets from the Poster and Trailer release of the Film: “One” at the India Pavilion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Snippets from the Trailer Showcase: Raj Kapoor’s documentary film- “Loni Tunes” at the India Pavilion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Shruti Hassan on her international film “The Eye” alongwith the producer and other cast members at the Indian Pavillion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Mr. Cyrus S Poonawalla, an Indian billionaire businessman, and the chairman and managing director of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, which includes the Serum Institute of India, visited the Indian pavillion at the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Actress Diana Penty with Fashion Designer Shane Peacock and Falguni Peacock at the India Pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival on May 20.
Snippets from the session on Entertainment Tech Future of Media with AI at India Pavilion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Snippets from the session on Building a Movement for Film Preservation- From Archiving to Restoration and Exhibition at India Pavilion. Photo: Twitter/@nfdcindia
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France on May 18.
Shruti Haasan poses for a portrait during the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Martinez Hotel on May 21 in Cannes, France.
Indian film director and actor, Pradeep Ranganathan at the 76th annual Cannes Festival. Photo: Twitter/@pradeeponelife
Mrunal Thakur attends the "Black Flies" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18 in Cannes, France.
Vijay Varma at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France as part of the Indian delegation. Photo: Instagram/@itsvijayvarma
Manushi Chhillar attends the "Jeanne du Barry" Screening & opening ceremony red carpet at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16 in Cannes, France.
As cameras flashed amidst the glitz & glam, Director Atlee Kumar and Priya Atlee graced the red carpet at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival on May 21. Photo: Twitter/@TheRoute
Sara Ali Khan attends the "Monster" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17 in Cannes, France.
Aman Gupta with his wife Priya Dagar on the red carpet at the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival. Aman Gupta, co-founder of the leading electronics brand boAt, became the first entrepreneur from India to walk on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Instagram/@boatxaman
Esha Gupta poses for photographers upon arrival at the opening ceremony and the premiere of the film 'Jeanne du Barry' at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, on May 16.
Kusha Kapila attends the "Rapito (L'Enlevement/Kidnapped)" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2023 in Cannes, France. Kusha Kapila is an Indian fashion editor, Internet celebrity, comedian, actress, and YouTuber from New Delhi, India.
Masoom Minawala Mehta attends the "The Zone Of Interest" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19 in Cannes, France. Masoom Minawala Mehta is an Indian fashion blogger and entrepreneur.
Chetan Anand and the poster of Neecha Nagar. Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar is the only Indian film to have won the Palme d’Or at the first Cannes Film Festival in 1946.