On Sunday, the 19th of May 2013 Indian Cinema’s official entry Bombay Talkies had its star-studded Gala screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival 2013. The premiere event took place in the beautiful French Riviera city. Produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Flying Unicorn Entertainment, Bombay Talkies brings together India’s leading contemporary filmmakers, including Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee.
The screening was attended by all of the film’s directors and producers, and celebrated 100 years of Indian Cinema. Bombay Talkies encapsulates the array of emotions through which millions of fans across the country are unanimously connected. It includes an exceptional cast featuring Rani Mukherji, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Randeep Hooda and Saqib Saleem, with cameos by Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif. The film has opened to rave reviews in India and received appreciation from critics, celebrities and audiences alike.
In the presence of the French Minister for Culture Aurélie Filippetti and the Indian Minister of Tourism and Culture, the official speaker said that ‘There are three official flags this year in Cannes: the flag of France, the flag of Europe and the flag of India. This is not just a tribute to a country, but a celebration to another Indian Cinema, which goes alongside Bollywood and auteur cinema. This is the first Indian cinema which we are hosting and four representatives of that new cinema are present here tonight.’
After a vibrant introduction for the directors and the film, the four directors spoke about their excitement and pride at having Bombay Talkies showcased at the Cannes Film Festival 2013.
Anurag Kashyap said: ‘For years we’ve all been trying to break out and express ourselves in cinema and being here tonight underlines we are breaking new ground. Tonight means that we’re doing something right.’
Karan Johar added: ‘It was always a dream of mine and my fathers to be here in Cannes with a film. Walking out tonight with three of the most important filmmakers I know is a dream come true.’
Zoya Akhtar said: ‘Thank you all for celebrating our birthday. This is more than a dream come true and I hope you will enjoy the film.’
Dibakar Banerjee concluded: ‘To add to this wonderful introduction, I would just like to say that the four of us have struggled to get here like any other director out there: Anurag spent seven years struggling, now he has five films here. Karan single-handedly resurrected his father’s film business and became a director by chance. Zoya comes from a film family but struggled for six years before getting a script made into a big film. As for me, my father wanted me to be an engineer and that’s it.’
Ajit Andhare, COO Viacom18 Motion Pictures explained, ‘It’s second in a row for Viacom18 Motion Pictures at Cannes. We presented Gangs of Wasseypur last year and now it’s Bombay Talkies at the Gala screening. That the anthology film has been loved in India shows a certain coming of age of the Indian audience. This film is therefore a fitting tribute to 100 years of Indian Cinema.’
Ashi Dua of Flying Unicorn Entertainment, the co-producer of the film added: ‘Our film Bombay Talkies has made it to one of the most prestigious film festivals – Cannes. I am extremely happy that the film has received such an overwhelming response internationally. This means many more people across the globe will be celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema with us.’