Indian films make mark in Cannes

By Kev Geoghegan
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

image captionThe cast and crew of The Gangs of Wasseypur launched the film in Cannes

The director of one of several Indian films at the Cannes film festival has said he hopes to change the country's reputation as "a joke" at the event.

Anurag Kashyap's five-hour epic The Gangs of Wasseypur is showing as part of the Directors' Fortnight strand.

He told the BBC: "The buzz is reassuring because we have often come here and were the big joke."

Indian film is often associated with Bollywood musicals, but several dramas have won distribution deals at Cannes.

Kashyap said the breadth of movies on offer in Cannes showed how independent Indian cinema had changed. "There is a lot that is happening in India," he said.

image captionThere will be five Bollywood films screened at Cannes this year

"It's going through real change in the kind of film-makers that are coming through and the kind of stories that are being told, the kinds of film being made and the kind of films that are working at the box office."

Kashyap's film, which had its world premiere at Cannes on Tuesday, is split into two and tells of a bloody feud over several generations.

Bollywood still takes the lion's share of earnings at Indian box offices, but Kashyap points to the internet as being the main driver of cinematic change.

He said more independent films were now being seen by audiences in India.

"In India, it's only Bollywood and Hollywood that find mainstream distribution," he said.

"To see films which have been shown at festivals, people started going on to the internet to watch and started to be exposed to films they could relate to."

European distribution deals have been announced for the likes of Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely, which is showing in the Un Certain Regard section, and Monsoon Shootout from award-winning shorts director Amit Kumar.

Anand Gandhi's philosophical drama The Ship of Theseus is among the other films on show.

Kashyap said: "This is great start, and if we keep on making cinema that reaches out to the globe, it will be very empowering."

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.