The 66th Cannes film festival, which opens on the May 15, 2013, will be marking 100 years of Indian cinema with special events. The opening film of the festival is Baz Luhrmanns's The Great Gatsby featuring Leonardo Di Caprio and also Amitabh Bachchan, who will be present for the screening of the film.
Amit Kumar's film Monsoon Shootout featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tannishtha Chatterjee, is eligible for the Camera d'Or prize given to a first film. The film is being screened in an out of competition section called 'Midnight Screenings' along with Johnny To's film Blind Detective.
Nandita Das is on the jury of the Cine Foundation and short film sections. Bombay Talkies, directed by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar, will also be screened as an official selection in India's honour, but is not in the competition category.
An Indian is likely to be chosen for the main jury of the official competition that has 19 films in all. Only one woman filmmaker, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, has been chosen for the main competition. Bruni-Tedeschi is a well-known actress in France and also happens to be Carla Bruni's sister.
The two men who head the Cannes film festival, Thierry Fremaux (artistic director) and Giles Jacob (President), announced the official selections in Paris on Thursday. NDTV's Noopur Tiwari asked them why Indian films don't make it to the official competition.
"We cannot select a film in the competition on the basis of friendship or for the sake of indulging the country that's being honoured. The Indian films we have this time are there because we like them." Thierry Fremaux said. "Indian cinema is in great health as we and you celebrate 100 years of your cinema. The Director's Fortnight and Critic's week I believe are also considering some Indian films, not just to pay homage but for their competition. They had some films last year too," the director added .
"You are focussing on the competition, like many others tend to do. We didn't find an Indian film that suited our taste. We are perhaps wrong or right. We will have, as is the tradition, a member in the jury. There are 150 countries in the United Nation so there aren't just Indian films. Indian films have often been honoured in the last few years at Cannes," said Mr Fremaux.