Deepika Padukone dazzles in Cannes where India is the first ever country “guest of honour”.
Indian Bollywood star Deepika Padukone was a part of the nine-member Cannes Competition jury and has been making headlines with her red carpet glam – including a dazzling head-to-toe Louis Vuitton look.
The recent Vogue cover star went viral for dancing to Ghoomar – a hit track from her film Padmaavat – with actresses Urvashi Rautela, Tamannaah Bhatia and Pooja Hegde at the inauguration of the India pavilion.
India’s film industry, the world’s most prolific, is taking centre stage at the Cannes Film Festival, but insiders say it’s a challenge to please global audiences without losing its massive fanbase at home.
India is the festival’s first-ever guest of honour this year in its “Marche du Film” where global companies come together to buy and sell film rights and hash out production deals.
A high-profile Indian delegation, including a government minister, has been given privileged access to global distributors and screened many work-in-progress movies in search of financing.
“We feel that Indian cinema may be at a turning point, that there’s been a renewal of Indian cinema,” Jerome Paillard, the Marche du Film’s executive director, told AFP.
Global distributors took a major interest in India a decade or more ago with global hits like Hindi-language film “The Lunchbox” (2013).
The largest film industry in the world
The Indian film industry produces up to 2,000 movies per year, more than any other country.
The country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants, growing middle class, huge theatre network, and sizeable global diaspora give the sector a fanbase that is the envy of the world.
It has also made inroads beyond its native speakers — in places like China, Egypt and Nigeria.
But catering to Indian tastes can often stand in the way of going further, said Pranad Kapadia, the director of Moviegoers Entertainment, a UK-based distribution firm specialising in Indian cinema.
The recent pivot to India of the Cannes film festival may also be given French President Emanuel Macron’s recent closeness with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The french “pivot to India” is to play the principal role as India’s European partner and President Macron has pushed ahead with a partnership with india in defence as well as the Indo-Pacific.