Most of us remember Cannes Film Festival as the platform where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and now ever Deepika Padukone walk on the red carpet in their bedazzling attires giving everyone new kind of fashion goals. But is fashion the only thing about Cannes that makes the film festival so prestigious?
It was an unassuming sleepy resort on the French Riviera that got worldwide recognition when it revived the famous Festival international du film or the International Film Festival and re-christened it as ‘Festival de Cannes’. The world was fatigued after World War II and the cinematic extravaganza was a much-welcomed sight. From that point forward, the invitation-only occasion held in May each year has changed filmdom by showcasing excellence in film-making, creativity, acting and all things that spell out a brilliant film!
The festival has long been praised for its diversity and India has regularly found a place at its heart and as the Cannes Festival commemorates its 70th edition this year, here’s a throwback at some of most talented Indian actors and film-makers who served as the jury over the years!
Chetan Anand was the first Indian to be invited as a Jury member at Cannes in the year 1950. The celebrated filmmaker was invited to be a part of the Jury after being awarded with the Palme d’Or (Best Film) award at Cannes Film Festival in the year 1946 for his first film Neecha Nagar. Since then he earned a lot of recognition and fame for his work in India as well as abroad.
Krishna Riboud have been on the Cannes jury board backin 1958. Spouse of French businessman Jean Riboud, she was a historian, collector of Indian and Chinese textiles, patron of arts and an important political hostess of her times. She was a Tagore descendant, and passed away in 2000 at her home in Paris.
In the year1982, Mrinal Sen got the invitation to be a part of the International jury at the Cannes Film Festival. Mrinal Sen, an Indian filmmaker hailed from Bengal and was a regular visitor at all the major film festivals, but, he had a different equation with this French film fiesta. In the following year, Mrinal Sen’s Kharij won the Special Jury Award in 1983.
Mira Nair is a well-known Indian filmmaker based in New York. After her debut film earned her the Golden Camera Award and additionally the Audience Award at Cannes in 1988, she was made asked to join the jury board in 1990. She has a host of other awards and nominations including Golden Globe, BAFTA and the holy grail of all awards.
The award-winning author for her book debut novel ‘The God of Small Things’ and political activist Arundhati Roy was invited to be a part of the jury at the film festival in the year 2000.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
The well-known celebrity, the Bachchan bahu, goes down in history with the record of being the first Indian female actor to be invited to Cannes to be a jury member in the year 2003. This news created a big buzz a decade ago, with the paparazzi scanning her fashion sense. Since then, she is now considered to be a regular at Cannes, and is seen on the red carpet every year.
Nandita Das, who also won the Order of Arts and Letters of France in 2008, was the first Indian to be a jury member in Cannes twice. Her first time was in 2005 followed by that in 2007 in the short films section. She is a versatile actor who has awards and accolades from all over the world and is remembered for her fiery performances in Fire, Earth and Firaaq.
Sharmila Tagore is a well-known actor who has received immense appreciation in Indian cinemas for her roles in various movies. In the year 2009 was invited to be a jury member in the 62nd edition of the festival. The Padma Bhushan awardee had a special connection with France from much before beaing a part of the jury – she was awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of France in 2004 in recognition of her significant contribution to cinema.
Padma Shri awardee and a renowned filmmaker, Shekhar Kapur served as a jury member in the year 2010 at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. He is one of the few individuals who have contributed to national as well as international cinema – from the Bollywood cult film Mr. India to the Golden Globe nominated Elizabeth. This man has done it all, and continues to do so.
Vidya Balan was a part of the 9-member jury alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ang Li, Nicole Kidman and Christophe Waltz in 2013. Vidya Balan has garnered fame beyond the national borders for her roles in Begum Jaan, Kahaani, The Dirty Picture and many others.
As the celebration of the Cannes festival got off to a grand start in 2013 with Indian Cinema completing 100 years, it was Amitabh Bachchan with his The Great Gatsby co-star Leonadro DiCaprio who announced the opening of the re-nowned international event. The renowned actor spoke to his Indian audiences in Hindi, expressing his gratitude to the Cannes film festival for all their support.