'Rang De Basanti' wows Cannnes

May 28, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) It seems the encomium for Rakeysh Mehra's reformative drama will never end. At Cannes, Rakeysh was treated to yet another round of inquisitive raves about his film "Rang De Basanti" by a receptive and eager international press.

Says Rakeysh: "Rang De Basanti was in the marketing section. It got sold in a jiffy for a large number of countries. But what really gratified me was the way the film was received by the press at Cannes. Generally the international press gets restless after the first 10 or 15 minutes of a film's screening. This time they sat right through and had lengthy one-to-ones with me on the film. It's a different kind of critical response out there."

But Rakeysh wasn't entirely happy with the contingent of films screened at Cannes.

"I saw a good Japanese film 'Midnight Sun' and an interesting animation film, 'Over The Edge'. After that I saw Pedro Almodovar's 'Volver' and I couldn't bring myself to watch any other film. The way the subject was treated and formatted just left me gawking," Rakeysh told IANS.

Though he spent an hour every day at the 'Indian Pavilion' at Cannes, he stayed away from the endless parties.

"There was a party every night. But I was not interested in partying. I was there to soak in the ambience. And what I realised is that Cannes is a wonderful place to bring your film to be noticed. But it isn't a yardstick of excellence. I mean "The Da Vinci Code" was selected as the opening film for the festival. It was obviously because of its right recipe. It was glamorous, lavish and controversial."

Rakeysh isn't happy with the fact that no Indian film has entered the competitive section at Cannes for years.

"But it can't be helped. No Indian filmmaker has the patience to hold on to a film until it's premiered at Cannes. There are too many extraneous circumstances threatening our films, pushing them into completion and then a quick release," he says.

"So the only way to put an Indian film into the competitive section at Cannes is to time its completion and release with the festival. And that's a ridiculous idea. So I guess we won't figure in the competitive sections of too many international festivals. Not that it matters. No one should make a film for a festival. At least I won't," he adds.

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