Indian cinema on a mission at Cannes to dispel Bollywood image

Sun May 19, 2013 4:12pm EDT
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANNES (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 the world's biggest film industry that makes over 1,000 films a year, compared with about 600 in Hollywood.

Movies from Bollywood's Mumbai studios and other regional 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 a "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," said director Amit Kumar, whose gangster-cop thriller "Monsoon Shootout" held its premiere at Cannes on Sunday.

"We need to portray Indian cinema as more international and I hope our presence at Cannes will make the world realize that Indian cinema is most than just about Bollywood," he told Reuters

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.   Continued...

 
Cast members Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Vijay Varma and director Amit Kumar pose during a photocall for the film 'Monsoon Shootout' at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau