Tongues started wagging when producer Sheetal Talwar, a few days ago, made a comment on how India cinema has acquired a somewhat status of a joke at the annual Cannes Film Festival.
And he minced no words while adding that an immense amount of money from the government’s exchequer is being wasted through The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) that is in charge of promoting Indian cinema globally.
Speaking exclusively to us, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who had recently toured the French town with three of his projects, retorts, “Sheetal Talwar has no clue about how a film festival functions. NFDC who funds the Indian Pavilion at Cannes has been trying to change the perception of our cinema and has been especially successful at doing that this year. We had a number of films from India this year.”
Talwar — a national embarrassment?
On reports about Talwar’s recent comments on how ‘not even a single gora was spotted in the party thrown by the Indian Pavilion’, Anurag adds, “Talwar’s name was not on the guest list. So, he was speaking out of jealousy.
Also, he should not talk about film festivals abroad as he has been the cause of the country’s biggest embarrassment at the Toronto International Film Festival. He was supposed to show Mausam there but at the last minute, he didn’t send the prints, because of which TIFF organisers don’t want to see any commercial film from India again.”
A big entourage
The filmmaker was also in the news for taking 45 people as part of his entourage to Cannes this year. On the matter, Anurag quips, “The production company paid for them. I paid for several others including my assistants. I wanted to expose them to all kinds of world cinema.”
Anurag adds, “NFDC is growing on the global platform. NFDC chairperson Nina Lath Gupta was on the jury of the Venice Film Festival two years ago. In fact this very year people like ad filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur has tied up with Martin Scorsese to restore an Indian film called Kalpana and also some Alfred Hitchcock films. Also Martin Roberts of Amsterdam-based film company Binger Lab is about to join NFDC to help our films. This is what the government’s money was spent on.”