May 25, 2002 
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Raj Kapoor
A Kapoor moment at Cannes
Legendary icon Raj Kapoor honoured for his work

Kryztoff de Breza in Cannes

Fourteen years after legendary Hindi cinema icon Raj Kapoor passed away, his long cherished dream came true.

A three-day three-film retrospective [Aag, Barsaat, Awaara], recently concluded at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival.

For the Kapoor family, it is a triumphant moment. The Prince of Bollywood, as Raj Kapoor was termed at Cannes, had always dreamed that his films be screened at the prestigious Cannes festival.

Son Randhir Kapoor confessed it was a dream come true for the family. Daughter Ritu Nanda admits to having goose bumps as she walked up the steps to receive the honour. As she walked up, the title song of Raj Kapoor's Awaara [Awaara hoon, sung by Mukesh], "I am so happy we had the pleasure of seeing Papa's dream come true," she said.

This is perhaps the first time that the Cannes authorities have decided to honour a star who is no longer living. It is well known that the organisers like to welcome the star, to the accompanying famous Monter de Marche [climbing the red-carpetted steps].

What is more noteworthy is the fact that this is the first time a mainstream Indian film director has been honoured at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now, encouraged by the response that Kapoor's films evoked at Cannes, Nanda said, "It has been a lovely surprise to watch people respond to his work --- and that too 14 years after his death."

Nanda has taken on herself the task of ensuring that the RK fever at Cannes does not stop. To that end, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj released Nanda's book on CD-ROM. It profiles RK, his life and his movies. With a selection of rare video and audio clips, the multimedia book aims to project his life and passion for cinema.

Nanda began writing the book during the early 1990s when the then Soviet Union honoured RK and other international film personalities for marking 100 years of cinema. "The Internet and advanced technology made it possible for me to add much more to the book, bring him alive and let him speak in his own words," says Nanda.

The entire package is available on the Internet, at their newly launched web site. This is so Raj Kapoor's fans can be acquainted with everything they want to know about the showman.

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
Issh! The new buzzword at Cannes
Ash shines at Cannes
India's first animation gets Cannes nod


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