It was only after the Cannes Film Festival became less about cinema and more about the celebrities and fashion, that Indians started giving it any patronage. And fair enough, because most of the Indians attending probably don’t even end up watching a single film. They’re there for something far more important – the red carpet.
So here are 7 ways how Indians know that the Cannes film festival is on.
1. Television news channels and newspapers can’t stop themselves from force fitting and punning on the word Cannes in their headlines in ways that would make Baba Sehgal cringe.(Yes we get it, they “Cannes” do it)
2. Dinner conversations about the festival switch from how fat Aishwarya was looking to how badly Vidya was dressed and finally to what exactly Mallika was doing there.
3. Newbies make the mistake of descending into the “Is it pronounced ‘Cans’ or ‘Caans’ ?” argument when everybody knows that Indians pronounce words as they damn well please. (Recently heard a rumour that a right wing outfit wants to ban the festival because the name sounds like Kans who was Krishna’s evil mama)
4. The PR machinery of unknown Indian actresses touch new depths of desperation. A recently published article claimed that a “have-done-some-films-in-the-south” actress was apparently very pleased when the junta at Cannes thought she was Mexican actress Salma Hayek. Forget the fact that all brown people don’t look the same, this girl is 27 and Salma Hayek is almost 50 now, c’mon!
5. Desi filmmakers and actors shout from the rooftops that their short films have been selected at Cannes. Sorry to burst the jingoistic bubble here, but the fact is that most of them are referring to the Cannes Short Film Corner (SFC), where a 90 euro fee pretty much guarantees ‘selection’. In 2013, 2,178 short films were ‘selected’ for the SFC. Guess the organisers have to find some way to pay for all that free flowing champagne.
6. A nation of a billion face palms itself. Did you think Jackky Bhagnani being a special guest at the inauguration of the India Pavilion was as bad as it got? Oh you underestimate us. The boy wonder of Hindi cinema, Uday Chopra’s production Grace Of Monaco was the opening film of the festival. It managed to get reviews worse than Uday has ever earned for any acting performance.
And finally, the 7th and final way how Indians know the Cannes film festival is on
7. Everyone in the country is talking about Kanu Behl’s directorial debut film Titli, which is selected in the ‘Un certain regard’ category. And they will flock to theatres when the film is released domestically.Yeah right..If only.
[The views expressed here are the author's own.]