The Opening Ceremony of the 66th Festival de Cannes saw many international stars walk up the red carpet at the famous Grand Theatre Lumiere in Cannes. Many Indians were also present. (Also read: Vidya Balan blows a French kiss in Sabyasachi)
After a song from the film The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg performed by Emeli Sande, French actress of Amelie fame, Audrey Tautou invited the feature films Jury on stage. Steven Spielberg who is the President of the jury got a long standing ovation. Vidya Balan, Naomi Kawase, Nicole Kidman, Lynne Ramsay, Daniel Auteuil, Ang Lee, Cristian Mungiu, Christoph Waltz also went on the stage. Vidya Balan stood out in a lehanga and a dupatta covering her head.
The Festival was declared open by Leonardo DiCaprio and Amitabh Bachchan. Big B said bonsoir (good evening in French) and thanked the festival for inviting India as country of honour in France . He then said he would like to speak to his "countrymen" and spoke in Hindi about Indian cinema completing 100 years and the tribute Cannes is paying this year to India. The Ceremony continued with the screening Out of Competition of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, with the key members of the movie crew in attendance. Amitabh Bachchan plays a short role in the film.
Sonam and Frieda Pinto were also in attendance as the ambassadors of L'Oreal, official partners of the festival. Crowds had lined up for hours under the pouring rain to watch the stars step out on to the red carpet. Many Bollywood fans of North African origin had put up posters of Amitabh Bachchan near the barricades.
This year India has films in the official selection. In the Midnight Screening section Amit Kumar's directorial debut Monsoon Shootout will be shown. It's eligible for an award called Camera d'Or or Golden camera awarded to first films. Bombay Talkies with short films by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibaker Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap will be screened in India's honour. A restored version of Satyajit Ray's Charulata will be screened in the Cannes Classic section. Two other films are crafting a buzz in the two sidebar sections that are closely allied to the main festival. Anurag Kashyap's Ugly and Ritesh Batra's Dabba starring Irrfan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are in the Director's Fortnight and Critics week respectively. Some of the biggest and best known directors in the world have started out with their films being screened in these parallel sections in Cannes.