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Rajeev Masand says India at Cannes 'is a matter of great pride'

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Renowned Bollywood film critic Rajeev Masand has said that it is "a matter of great pride" that India has four films in the official selection at Cannes.

Speaking to Digital Spy at the prestigious festival, Masand said he believes that the Indian selection at the festival is indicative that "the global perception of Indian cinema is changing".



"It is the mother of all film festivals," explained Masand. "For too long we've been happy with actresses just walking the red carpet in Cannes, which is why it is extremely exciting and a matter of great pride that we are here in the year that there are four films in the official selection. There's Gangs of Wasseypur, Peddlars and Miss Lovely. There's a restored classic that's in the Cannes classics, Kalpana.

"And actually this is more exciting than any other year because most years, as a journalist from India, you keep looking for stories, because there are none, so you're talking about some film in the market, or you're talking about what Aishwarya [Rai-Bachchan] is wearing on the red carpet, but this is one of those years where generally there are stories to be done. It's so exciting."

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Cannes Film Festival

© PA Images

Preity Zinta

© WENN



Masand continued: "We're here for the right reasons. It's almost face-saving. It's almost embarrassing to come here and the only story you go back with is Aishwarya was here for L'Oreal and Preity [Zinta] was here for Chopard. That's not a reason to be at a film festival and it's not a reason you should be covering it either.

"So it's exactly the right year to be here and for anyone who loves the glamour, the glamour is not missing either. Aishwarya's going to be here, Frieda [Pinto's] here and Sonam [Kapoor's] going to be here. Mallika Sherawat's here, so it's the perfect year. You should be at a film festival because of the films. It's the perfect year and the perfect reason to be here."

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The prolific film critic went on to explain how he felt that the global perception of Indian cinema is changing.

"I think the conventional definition of Indian cinema for a world audience has changed," Masand explained. "For a long time people dismissed us as those people who make the song and dance movies. The song and dance movies started to make a lot of money in their countries and suddenly they started to notice us.

"I think that now we've also come to realise that we don't just do the song and dance. They've come to realise in the last ten or fifteen years there's more to Indian cinema than the big masala movies."



Masand continued: "There is this emerging cinema. It's been emerging for some time now. But yes it is still an emerging new cinema, a new voice, and very often just as good as their films. I think the perception is changing. I think they don't really know what to make of us.

"When they hear that Miss Lovely is in 'Un Certain Regard' or Peddlars [is screening], that's the impression you want to create that everything co-exists. That is the beautiful thing. It's about all kinds of cinemas co-existing not just one."

Anurag Kashyap
Masand went on to describe Anurag Kashyap as a 'flag bearer' for Indian cinema.

"I think Anurag Kashyap's achievements are tremendous and it's about what we've been saying. He's the flag bearer of the Indian film movement. Udaan was here a few years ago, which is a film that he produced. It's the last film that was in competition.

"I think if we celebrate him as this flag bearer of Hindi cinema, all those labels are entirely justified because he is the guy who is doing very exciting films that the world is noticing. It's huge. I think all the praise that we mete out to him is entirely justified and it's speaking for itself."

"I'm very excited and I'm glad I chose this year to come back."

Photo gallery - Cannes Film Festival 2012:

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