Cannes is that beautiful little city on the French Riviera which is famed for its international film festival. Over the years, the city has become synonymous with cinema. Festival de Cannes is so much more than just all that glitz and glamour we witness on the red carpet. Every year, the festival showcases some of the greatest works in cinematic art. This, of course, includes masterpieces from India as well.
Over the years, there have been other Indian films too that have not only made it to the prestigious festival, but have also done us proud. Here is a list:
Neecha Nagar (1946) – Chetan Anand
Neecha Nagar, India's first official entry in the Cannes Film Festival, was one of the winners to share the Best Film Award in 1946. The film, loosely based on Maxim Gorky’s Lower Depths, paved a way for social realism in India.
Awaara (1951) – Raj Kapoor
Raj Kapoor's film is a simple story of a poor guy and a rich girl and the challenges that life throws at them. This venture was shortlisted for the much coveted honour of Palme d’Or.
Do Bigha Zamin (1953) – Bimal Roy
It was Bicycle Theives (1948) that inspired Bimal Roy to make this film. Do Bigha Zamin set a new benchmark in the parallel cinema space. It was awarded the Prix International at Cannes.
Boot Polish (1954) – Prakash Arora
Considered to be one of the finest films of Bollywood's Golden era, Boot Polish is the story of siblings who choose to shine shoes instead of begging after they are abandoned by their father. The film, besides being successful within the country, also received praise at the festival.
Pather Panchali (1955) – Satyajit Ray
Pather Panchali is a humanist tale of poverty set in a small Indian village. The film not only won the Best Human Document Award at the festival, but it also marked the beginning of a glorious phase in cinema.
Guide (1965) – Vijay Anand, Tad Danielewski
Guide was one of the first Indian films to be made in collaboration with an international team. This Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman starrer enjoyed a cult status in India. Its English version, however, was a commercial failure. 42 years after its theatrical release, the film was invited for a screening at the festival’s classics section.
Kharij (1982) – Mrinal Sen
Mrinal Sen's Bengali film revolves around the death of a child servant working in a middle-class family and the pain that the father has to go through. Kharij was nominated for the Golden Palm and it also received the Jury prize.
Udaan (2010) – Vikramaditya Motwane
This coming-of-age flick, was selected for a screening in the Un Certain Regard category and was met with massive critical acclaim. The positive word of mouth led to the film opening in India to a positive feedback.
Miss Lovely (2012) – Ashim Ahluwalia
Miss Lovely follows the story of the Duggal brothers, who produced sleazy sex-horror films and share a mutually destructive relationship. The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section and was considered to be out-of-the-box by many critics.
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Ugly (2013), Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) – Anurag Kashyap
Anurag Kashyap's revenge saga, Gangs of Wasseypur, gave us memorable dialogues and quirky songs. It was screened at the Directors' Fortnight and was initially five hours in length. Having the audience glued to their seats through that is no mean feat, but if the brain behind it is that of Anurag Kashyap, it's quite possible.
Kashyap's other films Ugly (2012) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) also played at the Directors' Fortnight in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
The Lunchbox (2013) – Ritesh Batra
Ritesh Batra's debut feature revolves around a mistaken delivery by the dabbawalas of Mumbai, which leads to a relationship between a lonely widower and an unhappy housewife, as they start exchanging notes through the daily lunchbox. This film was showcased at the International Critics’ Week of the 2013 Cannes festival and was the winner of the Viewer's Choice Award.
Titli (2014) – Kanu Behl
Directed by Kanu Behl, this flick is the story of a boy who forms a pact with his wife to escape family roots. Prior to its theatrical release in India, Titli premiered at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. It even came close to winning the Camera d’Or.
We sincerely hope we didn't leave out any. If we did, do let us know in the comments section below.