India basks in spotlight at Cannes


MUMBAI: Brand India visibility got a major boost at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival with the ‘India for Everyone’ message conveyed to delegates from over 90 countries.

It is not just Indian films, but the Incredible India campaign undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism that became the talking point at the French Riveira. From the Nice Airport to the exhibition hall in Palais, the India presence this time was the highest in the last five years.

The India Pavilion was abuzz with lot of networking and activity. The India Campaign at Cannes was supported by IBEF, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Actor Amitabh Bachchan was there too, to promote his film Cheeni Kum, premiered at the Cannes Film Market by Eros International, which has the global distribution rights. The presence of creative talents like Mani Ratnam, Shankar, Prakashraj, Rituparno Ghosh, Raju Hirani, Dr Biju brought cultural diversity of India alive at Cannes.

UTV launched Jodhaa Akbar and Goal at Cannes. iDream Independent Pictures had a dozen market screenings of five movies they got to Cannes as sales agents and are doing brisk business. Shemaroo Entertainment’s Ghatothkach has market enquiries that would end in taking the Sangeetham Srinivas Rao’s animation movie to new, non traditional territories.

“India was on the radar of the festival and market for the first eight days. It is a quite a leap from what we used to do in earlier years. There is a huge India interest now and whoever I exchanged cards with, are doing some project back in India.  I can say with confidence that Cannes is not fun, but serious business,” said Confederation of Indian Industry deputy director general Ajay Khanna.

India was the partner country at the opening night of the Cannes Market Party on 17 May 2007. The India Focus party was attended by over 1000 people on 18 May 2007. Seven Indian movies were screened on 19 and 20 May, in addition to the honour of walking the Red Carpet by the Indian delegation on 19 May. On 21 May, Amitabh Bachchan became India’s brand ambassador, walking the Cannes Croissette when Eros premiered Cheeni Kum at the Cannes Market. Independent Filmmakers Alliance also held a party at the Carlton beach on 21 May, projecting India’s strong independent filmmakers community. India was also the spotlight country at the producers network organised by the NFDC on 22 May.

Over 20 Indian showbiz companies exhibited their projects and products at the India Pavilion and exhibition area, while over 80 companies from India including 40 independent filmmakers are at Cannes with an arsenal of over 150 films.