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Indian Films Make Showing at Cannes Market

Though Indian cinema drew a blank at the Cannes official selections and sidebars, the country has a sizable presence at the Market, with more than 40 films in various stages of progress represented, and many more via the India Pavilion.

Saurav Rai, whose short “Gudh” (Nest) was a selection at the Cinefondation section in 2016, returns to Cannes with his debut feature “Nimtoh” (Invitation). Part of the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum Goes to Cannes program, the film follows a boy and his grandmother who are excited about an upcoming wedding in their remote mountain village.

Fresh off its world premiere at Tribeca, Bhaskar Hazarika’s tale of forbidden passions “Aamis” (Ravening) is represented at the Market by German sales outfit Media Luna.

The Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corp. is a regular presence at the Market and this year it is showcasing three films: veteran Sumitra Bhave’s “Dithee” (Seeing), about an ironsmith who has a crisis of faith after a personal tragedy; Omkar Shetty, one of Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch, brings “Aaron,” which details a teenager’s journey to Paris in quest of his mother; and Milind Lele’s “Bandishala” (The Prison), about a conscientious prison officer who exposes a criminal nexus.

Disney’s Fox Star Studios has the largest chunk of market projects, boasting eight Bollywood films, including “India’s Most Wanted,” “The Zoya Factor” and “Student of the Year 2.”

Also of note are Suraj Kumar’s “Holy Cow,” a documentary about mob lynching; Prashant Shah’s “Jungle Cry,” a story of underprivileged Indian children winning a rugby tournament in England; and Rupam Sarmah’s “One Little Finger,” about music therapy for the disabled.

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