Indians happy at Cannes
It is good tidings for the Hindi film industry
Kryztoff de Breza in Cannes
As the 55th Cannes Film Festival enters its last 48 hours, the Indian film industry is expressing deep satisfaction about the outcome of their participation at the festival.
India has had an unprecedented presence at the festival with a large delegation of industry professionals participating for the very first time. The 100-plus Indian delegation reads like the who's who: Yash Chopra, Yash Johar, Subhash Ghai, Sooraj Barjatya, Ramesh Sharma, et al.
For many, this was the first time at Cannes and a learning experience. "I have never been here before. I have now seen how the rest of the world markets their products. I have learnt a lot," says Yash Johar, who brought two of his latest hits, including Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, to the international film market at Cannes.
It is not just new marketing techniques that the Indian film industry learnt at Cannes. Many also discovered new markets for their movies, which they were not aware of. For instance, several Indian producers and distributors have struck deals in Eastern and Ccentral Europe, continental Europe and the Far East. Johar says participating at the festival has helped him sell his films in new markets like Korea.
Like Johar, most other participants are going back a happy. Harish Thawani, chairman and managing director of India's Nimbus Communications has signed a deal to co-produce a film with Dutch and French companies. "This is perhaps the first time that we are seeing an Indo-Dutch-French coproduction," says a thrilled Thawani. The film, Hawa Aane De (Let the Wind Blow), portrays the reaction of a cynical youth of India to the growing tensions with Pakistan, which results in a nuclear war between the two countries.
"Basically, the film's message is that a nuclear war has no winners. A small country can do as much damage to a bigger country with nuclear weapons," he says. The spadework for the film is expected to begin as early as June, says Thawani.
Some other big companies enjoyed a happy debut at Cannes. Take Hinduja TMT Limited. Ramkrishan Hinduja, co-chairman of HTMT, says he is very satisfied with the outcome of the company's participation at Cannes. "The results have far exceeded our expectations," he says. HTMT was at Cannes both as a buyer and seller of content, and has signed several deals with numerous companies the world over.
Encouraged, Hinduja says HTMT will increase its presence at Cannes next year significantly, and will develop extensive presence in the new markets that have been opened up at Cannes.
But success was not limited to content providers and co-production houses. Chandra Pandula was at Cannes marketing the shooting and post production facilities of the world's largest independent film city, the Ramoji Film City near Hyderabad. He says he has had some very encouraging initial discussions with numerous British and American independent producers looking to save their costs without compromising on quality.
Ramoji Film City has already seen six Hollywood films roll out of the complex. Pandula says after the Cannes participation, the number should swell. "We offer a unique opportunity to any producer in the world. He walks in with a script and walks out with a complete film. We have the facilities to cater to the needs of almost any country. Almost all producers are looking for, but do not know such facilities exist," says Pandula.
Despite the low presence of the United States in the Cannes this year, partially due to the ongoing economic slowdown and perhaps due to the September terror attacks, the Indian delegation will go back a happy lot.
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Devdas: a troublesome but dear child
Issh! The new buzzword at Cannes
A Kapoor moment at Cannes
Ash shines at Cannes
India's first animation gets Cannes nod
Devdas' moment of fame