By Malti Sahai
India has bowed out of the Competition Section, the Un Certain Regard Section and the Short Film Competition Section at Cannes 2016. This is a comedown after the euphoria experienced last year when Neeraj Ghaywans first film 'Massan' had screened in the Un Certain Regard competition and scored a double win by walking away with two awards - the special jury prize for a debut film which it shared with hid by Iranian Director Ida Parahandeh, and the Fipresci award given by the critics jury.
However, The Cinefondation selection committee after seeing 2,300 works submitted by film schools from all over the world short-listed 18 films including 'GUDH' by Saurav Rai from the Satyajit Ray Film And Television Institute of India, making it the only film from India competing in what is termed as the 'Official Sections' at Cannes.
GUDH is an autobiographical film showcasing recollections of the director's childhood. Born in Mangwa, a small town near Kalimpong in Darjeeling, his childhood was split between Mangwa and Kathmandu in neighboring Nepal. The film made in the Nepali language weaves together his relationship with his parents and grandparents with hints of the Gorkhaland movement for an independent state.
Two more Indian films will be screening in the Cannes sidebars. Anurag Kasha's feature' RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0' will compete in the prestigious Directors Fortnight section and the 'Cannes Classics' program includes 'CINEMA TRAVELLER'S' by Shirley Abraham.
Anurag had previously made a mark by screening his film 'Gangs of Wasseypur' in 2012 at Cannes. The film had received rave reviews. His new film 'RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0' also known as "PSYCHO RAMAN' has wazuddin Siddiqui playing the psychopathic serial killer who terrorized the streets of Mumbai in the mid-1960s.
'THE CINEMA TRAVELLER'S' by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiyan is a portrait of a traveling movie theatre in India which continues to bring the magic of images to a stunned audience in spite of technological and numerous other challenges.
In addition, Aditya Vikram Sengupta's 'MEMORIES AND MY MOTHER' project has been selected for this year's Cinefondation L'Atelier's 12th edition. In all, 15 projects from 14 countries have been selected. The Cinefondation's Atelier was created in 2005 to stimulate creative filmmaking and encourage the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers.
Responding to a question on the absence of an Indian film in Competition at the press conference to announce the festival line-up, Thierry Fremaux said he was very attentive to the future of Indian cinema. He acknowledged the "top vitality" of Indian cinema today, adding that auteur cinema is looking more up to date and western. Judging from the selection of Indian titles screening at Cannes, it is the new generation of filmmakers that will be keeping the flag flying for us.