By Arun Fulara. Posted on April 16, 2015
Indian cinema seems to have hit its strides on the international stage. Following the success of films like Killa, Court, Dhanak & Umrika in the last couple of years, we have 2 films in the competition sections at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year. While Neeraj Ghaywan's Masaan & Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot are shortlisted for the Uncertain Regard section.
Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masan is co-production backed by Manish Mundra's Drishyam Films, Phantom Films and French producers Melita Toscan du Plantier, Pathe and Arte. The film features four stories focused on characters from different castes and how their lives intersect along the Ganges river: a lower-caste boy in a hopeless love, a daughter torn with guilt, a father sinking in greed, and a spirited kid craving a family, all yearning to escape the constrictions of a small-town.
Neeraj Ghaywan earlier directed Shor, his debut short film that won at festivals like SAIFF (2011), London Indian Film Festival (2012) & IFFLA (2012). Epiphany, his other short film was released by Viacom as a part of a package of short films online. Neeraj has assisted Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur and was the 2nd unit director for Ugly. He won the Sundance Institute - Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award for Masaan in 2014.
The Fourth Direction (Chauthi Koot) is Gurvinder Singh’s second film after the acclaimed Anhey Ghore Da Daan that premiered at Venice in 2011, before going on to screen at Busan, Abu Dhabi & BFI London amongst others. It won the National Award for the best Punjabi film in 2012 when Gurvinder also received the National Award for best director. Set in 1984 in Punjab against the backdrop of the militant Sikh movement, The Fourth Direction explores the dilemma of the common man trapped between excesses of the military on one side and terrorists on the other, leading to an atmosphere of suspicion, fear and paranoia.
It is based on two short stories, "The Fourth Direction" and "I Am Feeling Fine Now" from the 2005 collection Chauthi Koot by Waryam Singh Sandhu. The film is produced by Kartikeya Narayan Singh.
The Uncertain Regard section runs parallel to the main competition section and showcases works that are typically first or second works of the director. Films in this section are in the race for the Camera D’Or, the grand prize at Cannes for feature films. This section was introduced in 1978 and every year, it presents "original and different" works from across the world that are seeking international recognition.
This section has featured several Indian films over the years including Mani Kaul’s Satah Se Uthata Aadmi Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Elippathayam, Mrinal Sen’s Khandar, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay, Aribam Syam Sharma’s Ishanou, Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan & Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely.
Last year Kanu Behl's Titli was part of the UnCertain Regard section while Gitanjali Rao's animated short True Love Story was part of the Critic's Week.