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Last Updated 26.08.2019 | 8:13 AM IST
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Day 5: Premiere of Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Bollywood - The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Cannes is an event of extreme incongruities, which are nowhere more apparent than during the red carpet screenings at the Lumiere Theater. Every movie, no matter how austere or ghastly its subject matter is, receives the same treatment: An announcer fervently calls off the names not only of the film’s cast and crew but also those of any celebrities – usually as they march up the Lumiere steps to a medley of deafening American and Euro pop Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” before a film.

So, Angelina Jolie has been busy in Cannes… she sold her directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey about Bosnian War to Film District, a subsidiary of GK Films. GK Films founder Graham King announced today the acquisition and described Jolie’s debut as, “signals the arrival of a visceral and compelling storyteller”.

The team of Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told hit the screening of the film that also included dancers who showed their moves on the red carpet. While some outfits were forgettable, ones to make an impression were Bharathi in a red Sabyasachi sari, Zarina in an elegant black one and Ronnie and Rakeysh in their all-black outfits.

Cannes celebrated Bollywood with the midnight screening of a specially prepared montage of great moments in Hindi musical cinema that didn’t quite get the audience dancing in the aisles.

Bollywood: The World’s Greatest Love Story was put together over the past year at the behest of festival director Thierry Fremaux to make up for a perennial dearth of Indian films in competition at the world’s biggest film event.

“You can dance during the film if you want,” Fremaux told the black-tie audience, and for encouragement a glamorous posse of Mumbai film people was on hand, some of whom danced their way up the red carpet under a full moon. But from the balcony seats, it looked as if no one took up the invitation, and indeed a number of mainly older viewers were seen leaving early.

For those who stayed, the reward was a dazzling 81-minute crash course in the Bollywood genre, including two minutes of obligatory wet-sari scenes, directed by Shekhar Kapur and snappily edited by US documentary maker Jeff Zimbalist.

Kapur, a Cannes jury member last year, said the idea for the project came from Fremaux, who had been impressed by audiences dancing at the London musical Bombay Dreams which Kapur co-produced.

“The audience (in Cannes) should see why over a billion people are having a love affair with this kind of cinema,” he told the Hollywood Reporter trade journal in an interview published this week. “It’s been quite a delicate process to do this, including clips from almost 100 films from black-and-white to today’s cinema.”

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