Last Updated: 04.53 PM, May 14, 2023
Anurag Kashyap's ‘Freddy’ has made to the official selection cut for the 76th Cannes Film Festival, marking the director’s first narrative feature to make the Cannes. Apart from Kashyap's ‘Freddy’, a Mumbai-set police noir by an indie cinema flag-bearer, a student film from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and a restored print of a Manipuri classic will formally represent the world’s most productive movie industry, India at Cannes 2023.
The 76th Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 16 to 27 May.
The film ‘Kennedy’ is produced by Zee Studios and Kashyap’s newfangled Good Bad Films. Notably Kashyap has made numerous trips to the French Riviera (as a director or a producer) since 2012.
In 2013, the four-part "Bombay Talkies" was part of the festival's Special Screenings section. Kashyap helmed "Murabba", a segment of the portmanteau, with Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee and Zoya Akhtar directing the other short fiction films.
Away from the official selection, Kanu Behl’s sophomore effort "Agra", coming nine years after his critically lauded Un certain regard selection "Titli", will screen in the parallel Directors Fortnight.
The Indian representation in Cannes this year – four fiercely individualistic films – would have pleased Mrinal Sen, born this day exactly 100 years ago. The maverick master’s association with the Cannes Film Festival was frequent and rewarding.
Mrinal Sen’s first three trips to the French Riviera were to the Directors Fortnight – a feat matched only by Kashyap – with "Bhuvan Shome" (1970), "Padatik" (1974) and "Oka Oorie Katha" (1978).
Sen’s first film in the official selection was "Ek Din Pratidin", which competed for the Palme d’Or in 1980. He had two other films in Competition – "Kharij" (1983), which won a Jury Prize, and "Genesis" (1986). "Khandhar" (1984) made it to Un certain regard.
Anurag Kashyap’s three Directors Fortnight titles are "Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2" (2012), "Ugly" (2014) and "Raman Raghav 2.0" (2016).
That apart, he produced/co-produced four other films that premiered in Cannes – Vikramaditya Motwane’s "Udaan" (Un Certain Regard, 2010), Vasan Bala’s "Peddlers" (Critics Week, 2012), Amit Kumar’s "Monsoon Shootout" (Out of Competition – Midnight Screenings, 2013) and Ritesh Batra’s "The Lunchbox" (Critics Week, 2013).
The logline of "Kennedy", starring Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone, reads: “Kennedy is an insomniac ex-cop long thought to be dead… still operating for the corrupt system while looking for redemption.”
“I have lived with this character,” Kashyap says in the director’s statement,“since I was writing for Sudhir Mishra and he used to tell me stories of this mad policeman… Years later, during the lockdown, an incident in Mumbai triggered an idea and I took the cop from Sudhir Mishra’s stories and put him around that incident and Kennedy was born.”
FTII alumnus Yudhajit Basu’s 23-minute "Nehemich" is in La Cinef, the Cannes Film Festival’s competition for film schools.
The Marathi-language short is a visually evocative, thematically layered exploration of menstruating women forced by tradition into isolation and their yearning for freedom set against the backdrop of the dread, disease and death unleashed by the Covid-19 virus.
The last time an FTII film made it to the La Cinef competition was in 2020 when the pandemic was at its worst. The entry, "CatDog", directed by Ashmita Guha Neogi, won the first prize.
The restored prints section of Cannes Classics this year includes Manipuri maestro Aribam Syam Sharma’s "Ishanou", which premiered in the festival’s Un certain regard sidebar 32 years ago.
"Ishanou" marks the return of filmmaker and film conservationist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Film Heritage Foundation a year after a restoration of G. Aravindan’s Thamp was unveiled in Cannes.