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Cannes Calling

First-time director Vikramaditya Motwane’s film Udaan is part of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival that opens on May 12.

Vikramaditya Motwane on his Udaan being the only Indian film at Cannes,as part of Un Certain Regard

First-time director Vikramaditya Motwane’s film Udaan is part of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival that opens on May 12. It is the only Indian film at the festival’s 63rd edition — and nobody was more surprised than Motwane when the announcement came on Thursday. “Shocking,it is,” says the Mumbai-based filmmaker. “But it means a lot to me as it opens up avenues for my film. It is also a good sign that Indian content other than Bollywood is being appreciated.” Un Certain Regard is a section of the Cannes official selection that shows new,experimental works and carries a prize money of 30,000 euros. It runs parallel to the competition for the prestigious Palme d’Or. Motwane,33,is in great company: Jean-Luc Godard’s new movie Socialisme is part of Un Certain Regard. “To be there with Godard is a huge deal for me,” says Motwane.

“The news has thrown our schedule haywire. We had just completed editing the film,now we need to do the mixing and sound in time for the festival,” says Motwane,as he shuttles between studios to get the festival print ready.

The three-hour film is a coming-of-age story of a boy. Starring Ronit Roy,Ram Kapoor and newcomer Rajat Barmecha,the film has been shot on location in Jamshedpur. The son (Barmecha) has just passed out from a boarding school and has not seen his father for eight years. “I wanted to give the movie a small-town feel. It is a mix of autobiographical and fictional references,” says Motwane,who started writing the script in 2003,soon after he finished assisting Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Devdas.

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Devdas was his second stint with Bhansali. Three years before,he had begun his career in Bollywood by assisting him in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. “I joined Bhansali after college and learnt the tricks of cinema on the sets. Assisting a filmmaker is as good as attending a film school. You pick up the ropes,since you are involved in different areas from pre-production and music to camera handling,” says Motwane.

He completed the script for Udaan in 2003,but was forced to shelve the film since no financier or producer agreed to take on the project. “They said the script lacked conviction and rubbished the concept,” he adds. He started assisting close friend Anurag Kashyap in writing the dialogue for Dev.D. “I had met Kashyap on the sets of Deepa Mehta’s Water a few years earlier,” he says. Soon after the success of Dev.D,Kashyap approached Motwane with an offer to produce the film. “He told me that he could put together the finances for my film. That was more than what I wanted to hear,” says Motwane,who got Kashyap on board to write the dialogue. The synergy between the two clicked and they wrapped up the shoot for Udaan in 42 days. “We understand each other and have a similar style of functioning. The comfort level shows in the film.”

The other Indian at the festival is Shekhar Kapur,who is on the jury for the feature films along with American filmmaker Tim Burton and British actor Kate Beckinsale.

First published on: 16-04-2010 at 11:13:25 pm
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