It was with the screening of Devdas Aishwarya Rai Bachchan began her association with Cannes film festival. Now almost 15 years later, Aishwarya has become a Cannes regular representing the Indian film fraternity at the festival year after year, an opportunity that she is both humbled and privileged to receive. For the actress, even if her film is not being screened in a particular year, it’s other Indian films that she looks forward to speaking about. “Even when it is not about my film, I so often end up speaking about whatever films of ours are getting showcased or represented there. I am very humbled and privileged that I am given that opportunity to speak for us (Indians) because we are not individuals when we stand on a global platform. You represent us Indians and our fraternity. That means a lot. So every such experience is humbling, precious and means the world.”
As she gears up to leave for Cannes by air tonight, the former beauty queen recollected her glorious association with the prestigious film festival.
“My association with Cannes began with Devdas being screened at the festival which was such an honour for me. As a member of the Indian film fraternity to get the kind of welcome we received from the festival, the world media, the appreciation, the fantastic reviews and the way the world media and international cinema opened up to our world of excellent cinema, I could proudly feel that I belong to the Indian film fraternity and that shall for ever remain the start of my association with Cannes film festival which thereon got consolidated.”
While Aishwarya has been attending the festival regularly for the last 15 years in different capacities, it’s the opportunity of indulging in cultural exchanges and sharing varied film related experiences with aficionados that she looks forward to year after year.
“Every year the experience is different. I am happy that I have been getting to attend the festival for 15 years now. When you go there, you know everyone who meets you belong to the same world of cinema. You share similar experiences with them and listen to their own. Anybody around you is someone from the film world and you can sit down for an exchange of something that needs to materialise professionally if you so wish, or just exchanging experiences of different worlds of our media. And it’s just a buzzing energy that you experience when you are there. Every year occasions have been different for me. The first time I was there was for the screening of Devdas. Later, I was there in my capacity as a member of the jury which was a first for the Indian film industry and a matter of pride for me. I once announced and declared the festival open. There have also been times when I got to share my movies there as well on a couple of screenings be it Provoked or Ravan or taking Jazbaa last year. Sharing our own work has always meant a lot. There are so many venues there and many different platforms. It’s great to meet so many people and share whatever we have to offer,” said Aishwarya.