CANNES: On 18 May at the India Pavilion in Cannes, a panel of eminent personalities from India and the US discussed the growth of Indian cinema at a global level.
The panelists included Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj; actor and producer Anil Kapoor; Mira Advani from The Hollywood Reporter; Bollywood.tv CEO Glynn Daives; directors Jag Mohan Mundhra and Ketan Mehta; Variety Asia’s Patrick Frater; Indo-American Arts Council Inc executive director Aroon Shivdasani; and UK based film critic Derek Malcoln. The session was moderated by Bhuvan Lall.
Initiating the discussion, Amritraj pointed out that India has a bright and promising future and it is with this belief that he aims to build a platform between India and the US. "I have made a film with Indian actors and even floated the Singapore funding, which will be a film fund for the Asian region."
Kapoor, who recently produced and acted in an international film Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle with Indian cast and crew said, "Boyle was amazed by the pool of talent in India." He further added that his production Gandhi – My Father will be released in North America by Lionsgate and that these are all signs that India is growing on a global level.
Ketan Mehta also echoed the same sentiments and said that good times are here for Indian cinema and we are only poised to grow from hereon.
However, Hollywood Reporter’s Mira Advani had a different opinion to share. She said, "So far Indian cinema has failed to catch the attention of non Indian audience, only young filmmakers these days are exploring subjects, which attract non Indian audience."
Aroon further pointed out that young Indian film makers have no direction to follow and the industry should put in some efforts for them.
Reasoning why Indian films have never been screened at Cannes, Derek Malcolm said, "I have seen many Indian films and none of them are worth a screening in Cannes." Derek even went on to say that, Indian films are trash, to which Amritraj went all out to defend Indian films.
Talking about the current state of affairs in Bollywood, Jag Mohan Mundhra pointed out that currently there is a Catch 22 situation, "Corporate keep asking for good scripts all the time, but when somebody gives them a good script they ask which leading actor will be a part of the film. If there is no star in your film, no one will be ready to back it up."
Reminiscing his own experience he said, "When Amitabh Bachchan showed interest in my film Shoot On Sight, every leading company was ready to back my film. But when Bachchan was unable to do the film, the corporate too backed out."
Director Sudhir Mishra, who was also attending the session, pointed out that official bodies such as Film Federation of India (FFI) and CII should provide some funds to NFDC so that it can play an active role in festivals.