India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, led the largest-ever official delegation of 11 Indian celebrities at the inaugural red carpet event at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which got underway this week.
The festival is extra special this year with India chosen as the official Country of Honour at Marche du Film. India is also a Country of Honour at the Cannes Next, under which five new start-ups will be given an opportunity to pitch to the audio-visual media industry.
A major highlight of India’s participation in the 2022 edition of the prestigious film festival is the world premiere of ‘Rocketry’, produced , to be screened at the Palais des Festivals this week.
The focus of the Indian delegation is to shine a light on India as the land of storytellers, content hub of the world and preferred post-production hub for filmmakers worldwide. This year’s delegation carries with it the symbolism of India’s ambition to become as a global cinema hub. The celebrities accompanying the minister include musical maestros, renowned filmmakers and actors who represent a kaleidoscope of diversity from various regions, languages, mainstream and streaming platforms.
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Among the stars is actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a regular at Cannes and recognised in Europe for his raw, powerful acting and the realism of his movies such as ‘The Lunchbox’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. The presence of Oscar-winning music composer A.R. Rahman in the group is a nod to cinematographic music, as maybe more than anywhere in the world soundtrack plays a massive role in .
Showcasing the musical eclecticism of the country, different genres are represented on the red carpet. Ricky Kej, an internationally acclaimed new age music composer and multi-Grammy Award winner, represents a more contemporary side of India, while Mame Khan, a film composer and folk singer from Rajasthan, personifies the influence of folk culture on Indian cinema.
Prasoon Joshi, a lyricist who penned innumerable evergreen film songs, and now Chairman of the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), is also part of the line-up. Ambassadors from different regional cinemas have been included in the delegation, sending the signal to the world that India – which boasts of 25 regional film industries – has many different flavours and styles to offer in terms of film production.
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This year, cinema from the south of the country is in spotlight, with actor-producer R. Madhavan spearheading this aspect, having been involved in films shot in six different languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and English. Telugu cinema superstars Tamannah Bhatia and Pooja Hegde, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, now chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), and actress and member of CBFC Vani Tripathi Tikoo make up the full Indian contingent.
The world-famous Cannes , which gathers the who’s who of the global film industry annually, runs until May 28 and will involve the Indian team interacting with delegates from around the world of cinema at various events and high-level meetings.