Indian Films at Cannes

Nandita Das’s Manto and Rohena Gera’s Sir are the latest films from India that made the long journey to the most prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Manto was an official selection under Un-Certain Regard section and Sir competed in La Semaine de la Critique section at 71st The Festival de Cannes.

Indian Films at Cannes Indian Films at Cannes Source : Film Struck

Every year, since the first edition in 1946, the festival has been home to all the landmark films in the history of cinema. An award or a selection at Cannes attracts global attention and recognition. Let's look at the Indian Films that have made the illustrious journey to Cannes.

It all began in 1946, in the very first iteration of Cannes Film Festival. Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar won the Palme d'Or (then Grand Prix) which it shared with ten other films among 18 nominations. Neecha Nagar, starring Kamini Kaushal and Zohra Sehgal, was one of the first Indian films to gain global recognition. V Shantaram's Amar Bhoopali, a 1952 biopic of poet Honaji Bala, was nominated for the Grand Prix. Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zamin won the International Prize in 1954.

In 1955, Raj Kapoor's Boot Polish and Bimal Roy's Biraj Bahu competed together in the festival. Naaz, a child actress, won the Special Distinction Award. A year later, luminary figure of Indian cinema, Satyajit Ray entered the festival for the first time with his debut film Pather Panchali which won the Best Human Document Film Award and a standing ovation from the audience upon its second screening.

Satyajit Ray's Parash Pathar and Devi, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas' Pardesi, Bimal Roy's Sujata, Moni Bhattacharjee's Mujhe Jeene Do, M S Sathyu's Garam Hawa, Shyam Benegal's Nishant and Mrinal Sen's Ek Din Pratidin were some of the official selections in the 60s and the 70s. Mrinal Sen, an essential figure in India's Parallel Cinema movement, he won the Jury Prize for Kharij in 1983. His next film, Khandahar, a year later, was screened under Un Certain Regard (a certain glance, films which tell stories in nontraditional ways) section. Mrinal Sen was also a jury member at Cannes in 1982.

In 1988, Gautam Ghose's Antarjali Jatra was screened under Un Certain Regard and Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay won two awards-Camera d'Or (for the best first feature film) and the Audience Prize. In 1989, Shaji Karun's film Piravi received a Special Mention in the Camera d'Or category. In the next decade, Aribam Syam Sharma's Ishanou, Shaji Karun's Swaham, Gautam Ghose's Gudia and Sandeep Ray's Uttoran were screened in Un Certain Regard section. Oriya film Indradhanura Chhai competed for the Grand Prize. Asif Kapadia's short film The Sheep Thief won Deuxième Prix under Cinefondation section in 1998.

Manish Jha's A Very Very Silent Film won the Jury Award in the short film category in the year 2002. Vikramaditya Motwane's Udaan saw screened under Un Certain Regard in 2010. Ashim Ahluwalia's film Miss Lovely competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur was also screened at the Director's Fortnight the same year. Vasan Bala's first film Peddlers featured at Cannes' Critics Week in the same year.

Ritesh Batra's The Lunch Box was part of the International Critics' Week in 2013. Satyajit Ray's Charulata was screened as part of the Cannes Classics. Kunal Behl's Titli being screened under the Un Certain Regard category. Neeraj Ghaywan's Masaan got a standing ovation and won the Special Prize for Promising Future award. Gurvinder Singh's Chauthi Koot was also screened in Un Certain Regard.

In 2016, Kabir Bedi narrated documentary Mount of Excellence, SS Rajamouli's Baahubali and Vikram Sengupta's Memories And My Mother were also screened. The Cinema Travellers was screened under the Cannes Classics category. Anurag Kashyap's Raman Raghav 2.0 premiered at the Directors' Fortnight and Saurav Rai's (FTII Student) Gudh made it to the Cinefondation competition in 2016 while Payal Kapadia's Dopahar Ke Badal was selected in 2017. National Award winning film and India's official submission to the Oscars, Rima Das' Village Rockstars made an appearance at the festival as one of four titles selected by the Hong Kong-Asian Film Financing Forum for Marche du Film (Cannes Film Market) section in 2018 alongwith Malayali film-maker Jayaraj's National Award winning film Bhayanakam and Kaushik Ganguly's Bengali film Nagar Kirtan.

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