Cannes Daily Spotlight 2012: Indian Cinema

2012 has been a boffo year for Indian cinema in Cannes, with four pics in the lineup as well as some standouts in the market.

Gangs of Wasseypur Parts 1 & 2″
Director: Anurag Kashyap.
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Producer(s): Viacom 18, Anurag Kashyap Films. Directors’ Fortnight. Hindi
Indian independent cinema poster boy Kashyap’s latest is his most ambitious work yet. The film is a sprawling epic that takes a minute look at the coal mining mafia in Northern India’s badlands and explores the bloody violence resulting from an intergenerational gang rivalry beginning in the 1940s that continues to the present day.

“Miss Lovely”
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia.
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anil George.
Producer(s): Future East Film. Un Certain Regard. Hindi
Ahluwalia follows his 2005 call-center documentary “John & Jane” with his feature debut, a tale of two brothers who make low-grade yet inventive horror films in ’80s Mumbai.

“Peddlers”
Director: Vasan Bala.
Starring: Gulshan Devaiah, Kriti Malhotra.
Producer(s): Anurag Kashyap Films, Eros Intl., Sikhya Entertainment. Critics’ Week. Hindi
Anurag Kashyap’s erstwhile assistant director Bala, who also has an associate director credit on Michael Winterbottom’s “Trishna,” debuts with the story of two sets of people on either side of the narcotics coin whose lives collide against the backdrop of an alienating and terrifying contemporary Mumbai.

“Kalpana”
Director: Uday Shankar.
Starring: Uday Shankar, Amala Shankar.
Producer(s): Uday Shankar Prod. Cannes Classics. Hind
Pioneering Indian dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar’s 1948 autobiographical masterwork charts a dancer’s aspirations of founding an academy. Restored by the World Cinema Foundation and Cinematheque of Bologna and the Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from a copy of the original negative preserved by the National Film Archive of India.

“Anhey ghorey da daan”
Director: Gurvinder Singh.
Starring: Samuel John, Mal Singh.
Producer(s): National Film Development Corp. of India.
Market: Punjabi
Rookie Singh’s insight into a day in the life of the marginalized poor in Punjab is a stylistic homage to the late Indian auteur Mani Kaul. Pic won three trophies including director at India’s national awards.

“Barfi!”
Director: Anurag Basu.
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra.
Producer(s): UTV Motion Pictures.
Market: Punjabi
Helmer Basu sets aside the failure of his ambitious “Kites,” and returns with this charming and unusual love story between two differently abled people in ’70s small-town India. Pic benefits from casting Bollywood A-listers Kapoor and Chopra against type.

“Tasher desh”
Director: Q.
Starring: Joyraj, Rii.
Producer(s): Overdose Joint, Entre Chien ET Loup, National Film Development Corp. of India, Anurag Kashyap Films, Dream Digital.
Market: Bengali
Mono-monikered helmer Q stunned festival audiences around the world with his explicit “Gandu,” and earned an India ban. His next film, a psychedelic adaptation of Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s dance opera, follows the musical adventures of a prince who fights with his destiny, and sparks the idea of love in a fascist group of playing cards.

“Pune 52
Director: Nikhil Mahajan.
Starring: Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni.
Producer(s): Arbhaat Nirmitee, Indian Magic Eye Motion Pictures.
Market: Bengali
Mahajan’s astonishing debut is a noir thriller about a middle-class private detective living in the western Indian city of Pune whose life is changed forever by the new case he’s on.

“The Good Road”
Director: Gyan Correa.
Starring: Sonali Kulkarni, Ajay Gehi.
Producer(s): National Film Development Corp. of India.
Market: Gujarati
Correa’s metaphysical road movie looks at three sets of people as they travel along a desolate stretch of highway in India’s Kutch region.

“Monsoon Shootout”
Director: Amit Kumar.
Starring: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Jayant Gadkar.
Producer(s): Yaffle Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Anurag Kashyap Films.
Market: Hindi
Kumar’s existential thriller pits a rookie cop against a suspected gangster as rains lash Mumbai’s grim urban landscape.

Cannes Daily Spotlight 2012: Indian Cinema
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