May 24, 2002 
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Aishwarya Rai
Ash shines at Cannes
As Devdas wins rousing applause

Kryztoff de Breza in Cannes

Devdas was a clear winner at Cannes on Thursday evening, the world premiere of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's opus.

At Cannes' Grand Theatre Lumiere, the main venue of the Cannes Film Festival, Devdas enjoyed a special out-of-competition screening. This is where all important screenings take place. The film is scheduled for an end of June release in India.

In a yellow sari accessorised by traditional jewellery, Rai arrived at the theatre on a four-horse carriage with her costar Shah Rukh Khan sporting a black tuxedo and a bowtie. Khan plays the title role of Devdas and Rai plays Paro, his only love, in the intense film about unrequited love.

Applause greeted the stars and Bhansali, dapper in a sherwani. The cast were honoured on the famous Monter des Marche (climbing the red carpetted stairs).

Nonetheless, it was Rai who the huge crowds just couldn't get enough of. She obliged the cheering and whistling people with broad smiles, waves and air kisses.

It was the French public that surprised. Unused to melodrama, the 600-plus audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy watching all three hours of the film, thus busting the popular thought that the Western audience has no patience to sit through the typically long Hindi feature film.

A young Frenchman said, "This is a fantastic movie." Several others loved the music and expressed deep interest in knowing where to buy audio CDs of the film.

For all the popularity Devdas enjoyed with the Western crowd, the Indians disappointed. A Indian film professional thought the film was monotonous and repetitive. He later conceded the audience vote mattered more than his.

It was clear from the standing ovation at the end of the film what the audience vote was.

More on Cannes 2002:
Why Shah Rukh believes in competing only with himself
Why Devdas is a troublesome, but dear child
Indian delegation happy at Cannes
A Kapoor moment at Cannes
Issh! The new buzzword at Cannes
India's first animation gets Cannes nod
Devdas' moment of fame at Cannes


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