Bollywood actress Vidya Balan and
Life of Pi director Ang Lee are part of the prestigious 66th
Cannes Film Festival's nine-member jury, headed by Hollywood
director Steven Spielberg.
Balan, 35, one of the most respected performers in India,
is best known for her path-breaking roles in films like The
Dirty Picture, Kahaani and Parineeta.
The other big names joining Spielberg are Oscar-winning
actress Nicole Kidman, Oscar-winner Christophe Waltz, Japanese
director Naomi Kawase, Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, French
actor-director Daniel Auteuil and Romanian director Cristian
The jury will award the coveted Palme d'Or prize to one
of the 19 films in competition at this year's festival, which
runs from May 15 to 26.
"Vidya Balan on cannes jury... awesome...," director
Anurag Kashyap tweeted.
Director Shekhar Kapur and actress Sharmila Tagore have
previously been a part of Cannes jury.
Cannes has invited India this year to celebrate 100 years
of country's cinema.
Apart from Vidya Balan, actress Nandita Das is also a part of a
separate jury for short films.
The festival will open on May 15 with The Great Gatsby,
which also has megastar Amitabh Bachchan in a cameo. The actor
will be attending the opening ceremony while the festival has
extended a special invite to his daughter-in-law Aishwarya
Rai Bachchan, a regular at Cannes' red carpet.
This year, four Indian films have been selected in
different non-competition categories at Cannes.
Bombay Talkies, an anthology film by four directors
--Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar --
will have a gala screening at the festival.
Kashyap will also be screening his Ugly in festival's
Directors' Fortnight sidebar where he earlier showcased his
two-part revenge drama Gangs of Wasseypur.
Dabba (Lunchbox) and Monsoon Shootout, co-produced
by Anurag Kashyap, have been selected for Cannes Critics Week and
Midnight Screening sections respectively.