News / Arts & Entertainment

Indian Cinema on Mission to Dispel Bollywood Image

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai poses as she arrives at the evening's gala of the film
Indian actress Aishwarya Rai poses as she arrives at the evening's gala of the film "Bombay Talkies" celebrating a hundred years of Indian cinema, during the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 19, 2013.
Reuters
Indian movie actors and a new wave of directors are on a mission at the Cannes film festival - to show that their industry, which turns 100 this year, is more than just Bollywood.

The largest Indian contingent to date is on the French Riviera at the world's leading cinema showcase to promote their country, which has the world's biggest film industry, making over 1,000 films a year compared to about 600 in Hollywood.

Movies from Mumbai-based Bollywood and other regional India films have struggled at the global box office with Indian cinema largely dismissed as lengthy, song-and-dance numbers.

But the industry sees the 66th Cannes festival, where India is "guest country" to mark its centenary, as a chance to showcase a new genre of Indian movies globally and to promote India as a place to both make films and win a massive audience.

"If you use the term Bollywood it really represents the song-and-dance, credibility-stretched story kind of film," director Amit Kumar, whose gangster-cop thriller "Monsoon Shootout" held its premiere at Cannes on Sunday, told Reuters. "We need to portray Indian cinema as more international and I hope our presence at Cannes will make the world realise that Indian cinema is most than just about Bollywood."

The Indian visitors to Cannes are also keen to lure investment to their film industry, which is forecast to grow to $5 billion by 2014 from $3.2 billion in 2010, according to a report by Ernst & Young.

India's presence has been high-profile since the start of the 12-day festival with acting legend Amitabh Bachchan on the red carpet on opening night to mark his Hollywood debut in Baz Luhrmann's ``The Great Gatsby'' alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

Actress Vidya Balan also walked the red carpet in the pouring rain that night as one of nine members of a jury led by U.S. filmmaker Steven Spielberg that will decide the coveted Palme D'Or award for best picture on the final day, May 26.

A gala dinner to mark Indian cinema's centenary was due to be held on Sunday and attended by a list of stars including actresses Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto.

'Shackles'

There is no Indian film in either of the two main competitions at Cannes. The last Indian film selected to vie for the coveted Palme D'Or was "Swaham" in 1994 while "Udaan" competed in Un Certain Regard for emerging filmmakers in 2010.

But four Indian films will be screened - "Monsoon Shootout", another thriller "Ugly", a tribute to the industry centenary called "Bombay Talkies", and love story "Dabba" (Lunchbox).

Anupama Chopra, Bollywood author, columnist and critic, said Bollywood was a tag that independent film-makers had to fight. "Maybe one day (Indian filmmakers) will break free of the shackles of Bollywood and make a completely global film in terms of aesthetics," he said.

In 2011 India saw a 42 percent jump in the number of Hollywood movies shot there with several Hollywood studios such as Disney, News Corp's Fox, and Sony entering deals with or buying stakes in Indian companies.

There has also been a surge in the number of Hollywood movies released in India, where 3.6 billion film tickets were sold last year. Hollywood studios have been releasing their films in India simultaneously with their North American releases and also dubbing films in various regional Indian languages.

Uma Da Cunha, program advisor at the 2012 Mumbai Film Festival, said studios wanted a slice of the huge Indian market. "The big and significant change in Cannes is that the Indian film industry is being given space and attention on the international film scene and it is attracting business and ties from global film interests," she told Reuters.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”