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Aishwarya Rai: When Bollywood came to Cannes

 | May 19, 2017

Down the years, it's virtually like I am a part of the family here and I feel very much at home, says the Bollywood superstar.

aishwarya-raiCANNES: The Cannes film festival — the world’s greatest movie showcase — celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

AFP asked actors and directors who made their names at the festival to recount their highs and lows at the star-studded event.

Aishwarya Rai

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan first came to Cannes in 2002 with the Hindi melodrama “Devdas”.

“It was the first time that an Indian movie was screened here… soon after, I was here as a jury member which was a first for any Indian actor. It was an honour and an incredible experience.

“Down the years, it’s virtually like I am a part of the family here and I feel very much at home.

“My first experience was truly memorable and exceedingly special…. We always heard how the duration of our cinema can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for the audience beyond (our) shores and ‘Devdas’ by that measure is a long film,” she said of the three-hour drama.

“If I remember correctly, we got a 10-minute applause. It meant the world to us. It was by far the most touching and overwhelming experience for us because it was quite unexpected.”

Carlos Saura

This veteran Spanish director attended Cannes for the first time in 1960 when his early work “Los Golfos” was nominated for the top Palme d’Or prize.

“It was an extraordinary experience which gave me exposure in France and also gave me the chance of getting personally acquainted with Luis Bunuel who was kind enough to come to the screening. Since then and until his death, we had a friendly relationship.

“In Spain, they took advantage of my being in Cannes to censor nearly 15 minutes of ‘Los Golfos’. When I got back to Spain I was convinced I would never make a second film — it was the era of Francoism. Happily, that wasn’t the case.”


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