By: Moses Navgire, IndiaFM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Apparently, the visits by Bollywood celebrities to the Cannes Film Festival have always created lot of noise in the Indian and International media. The glitz and glamour at the show is one of the reasons for the event always being in the headlines. Talk about Cannes to any Indian and his top of mind recall will be Aishwarya Rai. The lady seems to be the favorite guest of the Cannes organizers. She has been to the Cannes Film Festival for four consecutive years out of which, three of her visits have been on official invitation.
Incidentally, couple of her visits to the festival created news for all wrong reasons. It's quite interesting to take a look at Aishwarya Rai's journey to the Cannes.
2002: Aishwarya Rai made her first visit to the Cannes Film Festival along with Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Leela Bansali for the promotion of her film Devdas. On her very first visit, the lady drew the crowds crazy as she walked over the red carpet. People kept cheering, waving and whistling at the Indian beauty. 2003: Ash was officially invited to Cannes to be a member of the film jury. She became the first ever Indian actor to achieve the honor. Though this was big news by itself, Ash's visit made news for a whole different reason altogether. She was criticized by the Indian media for her dressing at Cannes, which they felt didn't bear an Indian look, besides it seemed completely inappropriate for the occasion.
2004: The Cannes Committee seemed to have been very impressed with the cat-eyed beauty and they again invited her to be on the jury team of Cannes 2004. The actress seemed to be furious over the reaction of the Indian media for the previous year and therefore, this time decided to strike back real hard. This time she turned up in a beautiful pearl-white gown. She looked extremely gorgeous and her roman sculpture like poses kept adding to the charisma of goddess. However, to her despair, things got messed up again. This time, her attire seemed to be revealing a lot more of Aishwarya Rai than what Indians were usually used to seeing. But the lady definitely impressed the crowds and ruled at the fest. She also inaugurated the CII Indian Pavilion and also expressed her pride in promoting Indian films at an International level.
2005: This was her fourth consecutive year at Cannes. She attended the opening night of Cannes in beautiful black evening gown. Ash also delivered an opening speech that year, along with director Alexander Payne and inaugurated the festival. This time however she seemed to have been extra conscious about her attire and the black gown she wore didn't leave any room for criticism.
Though a rollercoaster ride, Aishwarya Rai's visits to Cannes was definitely a matter of pride for Indians. The lady was an official guest to Cannes for three consecutive years, the kind of honor which very few individuals in the world receive.
Besides Ash, some other Indian female actors have also been to Cannes and remained in limelight at the fest. Year 2004 also saw the attendance of some of the leading ladies of Bollywood at Cannes. The extremely talented Nandita Das was invited to Cannes to be a member of the jury. After Ash, she happened to be the second Indian actor to get the honor. Nandita appeared at the festival in a very traditional style, dressed in a red sari, with gold jewellery and flowers in her hair. Sharmila Tagore was also present at Cannes that year as Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali was to be screened.
The same year also saw Bollywood bombshell Mallika Sherawat at Cannes rubbing shoulders with action star Jackie Chan for the promotion of their international film The Myth. The bindaas babe of Bollywood went on the red carpet in a white choli and high slit skirt showing off a lot more than what Aishwarya was accused of. But the bold female that she is, Mallika pulled it off well with the media from all over the world capturing every moment. Her dressing left no space for imagination. However, in her case, the wardrobe didn't really create a big controversy; rather people seemed to have praised her for her act of courage on the red carpet, something which not many could have done. Surely, the Indian ladies pulled a lot of attention at the Cannes, though the reasons for attention might be differing.
Taking about Cannes, this International Film Festival today has become a big name worldwide. It might be due to the fact that Cannes is slowly being looked up as a trusted 'brand' when it comes to appreciation of true talents and also due to the vast ocean of opportunities that it offers for the film makers to build new contacts and sign new contracts. The festival seems to be living up the vision its founders had set. As far as India's stand at Cannes goes, the fest very much seems to be giving the Indian Films the worldwide attention it seeks. Some of the big distributors and marketers of Indian films acknowledge that Cannes has allowed Indian films to enter the markets which earlier didn't seem to be the domain for Indian movies, thus benefiting the Indian films largely in increasing their global reach. With the increasing participation at Cannes and growing international alliances, Cannes Film Festival is the place to be for every film maker this season.