Nandita Das

Nandita’s First Post

  • July 5, 2005

In April this year, I was travelling in the US, for various reasons- speaking at the Cornell University, presenting Bawander at the Washington DC International Film Festival, helping out and shooting for, a short film for a close friend from Pakistan, looking for support for a project that I am writing and hoping to direct someday, and so on…and this is when I received the invitation to be on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival!

Christian Jeune, the director of the Film Festival called me and gave me the good news. And in two days I got a formal but a very warm letter by fax, from Gilles Jacob, the President of the Film Festival. Of course I felt honoured at being selected, but I was also truly surprised. I have to admit, that once the news sunk in, it was for me a validation of some choices I had made.

My decisions of doing selective films, and not just in Hindi, but in ‘regional ‘ languages, not living in the film city, but in Delhi, not living a life of an actress, etc were often seen as wrong choices, even by many of my well wishers. While I have always followed my heart and done what felt right, this news somehow reassured me in an external sort of a way. I have instinctively anchored towards projects that I could relate to, my choices have always has been influenced by my artistic and social commitment (although some of them have not quite turned out the way I had imagined or wanted them to be). But I was happy that I had at least made those choices for honest reasons.

I think it would be inappropriate for me to pretend to know why exactly I was selected. This is a question better addressed to those who made the selection. I am just looking forward to being part of the jury and getting an opportunity to interact with other accomplished and experienced artists and filmmakers, to see some of the best films made during the last one year from around the world and to get to know the different perspectives through which the medium of film is judged and evaluated.

Of course it is disappointing that there are no official entries from India. But it is certainly an opportunity to ask ourselves why this is so. While Indian films, bollywood ones in particular, are becoming increasingly popular among the Indian Diaspora and beyond, it is probably time that we explored the full range of cinema, both in its form and content. I think we should be brutally honest and ask ourselves whether our films are good enough for this level of international platform. Having said that, it must also be understood that there are of course some films that show sensitivity and an artistic expression and are overlooked or are unable to go through the processes that are required for submission and acceptance. But we know it is not lack of money, talent or stories that stops us from producing masterpieces now a days.

I am aware that Cannes is full of glitter and glamour, my focus is however, to take my responsibility as a juror seriously and not get bogged down by the other trappings and baggage that comes with the media attention such an occasion generates.

I am looking forward to a great learning experience and also having a wonderful time. An experience of a lifetime!

Virata Parvam


Director: Udugula Venu

Language: Telugu

Character Name: Shakuntala

Key Cast: Kundan Alexzed, Chakrapani Ananda, Banerjee

Feastivals and Awards: NA

Film Stills: 9

BTS: 11