• Sunday, June 23, 2024

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India Pavilion opens in Cannes with a new name

The India Pavilion, rechristened the Bharat Pavilion, was formally opened on Wednesday morning at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

(Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

The India Pavilion, rechristened the Bharat Pavilion, was formally opened on Wednesday morning at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

Explaining the rationale behind the renaming, Mr. Sanjay Jaju, secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said: “It symbolises the country’s assertion of its traditional storytelling practices while it actively looks for collaborations with the rest of the world.” “India,” Mr Jaju said, “is the sutradhar (narrator) of the world.” The large Indian presence in the festival is a recognition of that status, the secretary added.

The astounding variety of films that India produces and the growing importance of the Diaspora combine to bolster the reach and impact of the nation’s “soft touch”, Mr. Jaju said, adding that he would refrain from using the word “power” in the context of Indian cinema.

“We are happy that India is back in the Cannes Competition with a film by a gifted young filmmaker,” he said. “This festival is a platform for networking and collaborations that transcend geographical boundaries.” Payal Kapadia’s film, “All We Imagine as Light”, is an Indo-French co-production.” The inauguration was attended by, among others, Cannes Film Festival deputy artistic director Christian Jeune, Indian-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta (best known in India for the web shows “Delhi Crime” and “Poacher”), and Jawed Ashraf, Indian ambassador to France.

Mr Ashraf, in his address, said: “For many people, the Cannes Film Festival is about fashion and the red carpet, but more than anything else it is about cinema and the business of filmmaking.” “The festival brings together the very best of world cinema and the work of filmmakers who will be the best in the future,” Mr Ashraf added.

The substantial number of Indian films in the Cannes Film Festival this year, the ambassador added, is an acknowledgment of Indian cinema’s growth in terms of diversity of genres, themes, and approaches.

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