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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Festival frenzy

Actor - producer Uday Chopra, whose first international production venture Grace of Monaco was screened at the Cannes International Film Festival this year, talks about his red carpet experience, favourite moments and why he feels the arrangements were far more superior compared to their Indian counterparts

Written by Priya Adivarekar | Mumbai | Updated: July 11, 2014 1:00:22 am
Uday Chopra Uday Chopra

Q. 1 Since the Cannes Film Festival was your first international red carpet appearance, how excited were you?

It was lovely! But to be honest, it was a little surreal for me to be there and walk the red carpet. Yeah, we do own a big Bollywood studio, but I have always looked up to Hollywood and thought of myself as just another guy from Mumbai. There are iconic films and characters that I have grown up watching and admiring and suddenly, they are all around you. There you are, standing next to Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Paz Vega among others at such a prestigious event. It was like a dream!

Q. 2 So, when did you finally realise that you are actually living the dream?

Gosh! That happened when I was sitting in the audience during the screening and the logo of my company (YRF Entertainment) came up on the screen. That was a moment of pride. That’s when I remembered my father, the late Yash Chopra. If he was here, he would have been very proud. And that’s the time I said to myself — ‘you know what, Uday? You are here. You are doing this’.

Q. 3 Did you have any kind of a fanboy moment on the red carpet?

Not really! But the very fact that I was standing next to Paz was so surreal. I really love her and I think she is absolutely gorgeous. I spent a little time with her during the festival and when she talks, you can’t help but fall in love with her. Although I had met Nicole before, I met Paz for the first time at Cannes, because she had shot just a few scenes and I wasn’t around at that time. For me, that was exciting.

Q. 4 What was your preparation for the red carpet appearance like?

There was not much of a preparation as such. Luckily, guys don’t really need to do much. Just put on a black suit and you are all ready to rock. I got my tuxedo stitched in Mumbai itself. It was designed and made by my friend, Shiraz (Siddiqui), who usually does all my clothes. I didn’t really need anything more (smiles). I personally feel he did a fabulous job.

Q. 5 What was the most memorable moment for you during the festival?

The festival is a great place to be at and each moment spent there is memorable. It doesn’t matter how big a star you are. If your film is there at the festival, it’s an equaliser and makes you as good as anyone there. It makes you feel that you deserve to be there. I was also proud of the fact that our Titli team was there. So, the most amazing moment was when I took my entire team of Titli out and we partied all night till 5 am. It was so much fun.

Q. 6 If you had to compare the Indian red carpet scene to the international one, what would you say?

Although the idea behind the two is very similar, where films are showcased, and the local press covers it, their events are set on a far more bigger scale. Also, the way these events are organised is a lot better than the ones in India.

Q. 7 Any particular reason or incident why you feel that way?

Everything is organised in a very professional manner at international film festivals. Every celebrity gets to enjoy his moment of pride on the red carpet and walk ahead in a neat and organised manner. Also, every photographer is given an opportunity to capture every individual’s picture, even if it is for a few minutes or seconds. There are dedicated areas on both the sides and the top (of the building) for photographers. The celebrity is asked to stand in the center and is photographed from all angles. Then you walk up the stairs and turn around to pose, while the photographers gather together down in the center. The advantage is that you get pictures from various angles. It’s also nice how they give respect to the media who gets a chance to comfortably click different shots. Here, there might be images where you may or may not look good, but at international film festivals, you get clicked so many times that everybody looks good. At least, in most pictures (smiles).

Q. 8 Who do you think made the best red carpet appearance at the festival this year?

Oh God! (laughs) Alright! I am going to be all Indian and take names of only Indian celebrities, alright? I think Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan) looked gorgeous. Her outfit and persona was absolutely stunning. So beautiful! Even Sonam (Kapoor) looked wonderful in the black Elie Saab couture gown. But Aishwarya completely stole the show. She outshone everyone on the red carpet and I am not saying this because she is a friend. She was truly looking breathtakingly beautiful.

Q. 9 Inspite of having fun on the red carpet, did the local reviews of Grace of Monaco put you off?

Nothing can be more exciting than just being at Cannes. Despite the fact that Grace of Monaco was panned by the critics, we were overwhelmed to see the response during the screening at the festival. We were informed that if people around don’t like the film, they won’t leave any stone unturned to boo at you. But, they gave us a standing ovation!

Q. 10 Any film from the Yash Raj Films stable that you would like to see on the big screen at a film festival?

That’s an interesting question! (laughs and gets into thinking mode) For me, the most iconic film that Yash Raj Films made was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Of course, my father made several iconic films, but because I am talking about my generation, I have to go with my brother’s film (smiles). I was also a part of DDLJ as an assistant director and I think seeing that film would be good fun.


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