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The Cannes Film Festival’s 72nd has already begun. Well, India has known Cannes through the years for its L’Oreal ads, flowing gowns, a few actors deemed “International”, to walk the red carpets, with a bevy of photographers dressed in tuxedos clicking away to glory! Most of us rummage our Instagrams to have a look at who wore what.

This year Cannes Film Festival will be held from 14 May, 2019 to Sat, 25 May, 2019.

Hey, here’s a refresher! Today we won’t be talking about red carpet looks. Let’s refresh your memory of the fact that Cannes is about movies too, and the best of movies at that. Indian films have been a part of Cannes for decades now, across genres and languages, Indian directors have proved their mettle time and again. Though the 2019 edition of Cannes has no official entry or selection from India, we’d like to take you through 19 Indian films that have made their place at Cannes in the past. How many of these have you watched?

1. Neecha Nagar (1946)

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The first and only Indian Film to win the Palm D’or at the Cannes Film Festival, was Chetan Anand’s ‘Neecha Nagar’. The film never got a proper release, it didn’t get to the masses enough, and eventually got forgotten. Based on Maxim Gorky’s Lower Depths the film highlighted the struggle between villagers and their feudal lord, a theme which still resonates.

2. Awaara (1951)


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Raj Kapoor’s Awara, was one of the nominees for the Grand Prize in the year 1953. The story of a son estranged from his  wealthy father, the film was also a telling narrative on the gap between opulence and poverty. Though it didn’t make it for the Grand Prix, it remains top in the list of must-watch 100 films, a cult classic worth revisiting time and time again.

3. Do Bigha Zamin (1954)


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Bimal Roy’s National Award winning film of a  farmer in a drought hit village, his trials and tribulations to save his ” “do bhigha zameen” from the landlord. The film was the first Indian film to win the International Film prize at the Cannes.

4. Pather Panchali (1955)


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The first part of the Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray, the film catapulted Indian alternative cinema straight into the limelight. It is said that Nehru personally recommended the film be sent to the prestigious film festival, where it ended up winning the title for Best Human Document.

5. Guide (1965)


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Dev Anand’s Guide based on R.K. Narayan’s novel by the same name, the story of Raju, the Guide and his love for a married dancer Rosie. The film’s narrative, disapproved by the culture police of the time for its bold storyline, starred  Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman. The film which was shot in English and Hindi, and was rejected when it first released – only to become a cult classic soon after. India’s official entry to the Oscars, Guide was screened in 2007 at Cannes, celebrating 42 years of the film.

6. Kharij (1982)


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A domestic help locked in a kitchen, dies under mysterious circumstances, which throws the family he stays with into a psychological trauma. Directed by Mrinal Sen, one of the most prolific filmmakers, the film went on to win the Jury’s prize in the 1983 edition of the Cannes film festival.

7. Salaam Bombay (1988)


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Mira Nairs’ critically acclaimed Salaam Bombay won the Audience and Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival.  The film chronicles the lives of young children in the slums of Bombay, and remains one of the best 1,000 movies ever made.

8. Piravi (1988)


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This Malayalam film had a simple story line –  about a man who undertakes a relentless search for his missing son, who has been captured by the police and dies in custody due to their brutal torture. The film was received well by critics and screened at various film festivals, and even won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes film festival.

9. Devdas (2002)


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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extravagant adaptation of  Sharat Chandra Chattopdhaya’s Devdas was screened at the Cannes film Festival. Starring Shahrukh Khan as the desolate lover, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Paro; the film was even submitted to the Oscars in the best foreign language category.

10. Udaan (2010)


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The Vikramaditya Motwaane directorial debut was screened  in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes and received a standing ovation post its screening. Udaan broke the hiatus of no Indian films being screened at the Cannes for seven long years. The story involved a boy who is forced to live with his oppressive father, after being expelled from boarding school.

11. Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012)


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A film that director Anurag Kashyap thought would be labelled as ‘boring’ and ‘art house’ actually performed exceedingly well at the Cannes. Much like its predecessor Udaan, the film Gangs Of Wasseypur, too, received a standing ovation.

12. Miss Lovely (2012)


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Miss Lovely digs deep into the realms of the C-grade industry of horror and porn, crime and the likes. The film’s initial reception at the Cannes film Festival was mixed as audiences expected a more mainstream cinematic offering.

13. The Lunchbox (2013)


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Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur in this slice-of-life film about how two strangers bond over the most trivial of things – their love for food. The film was screened as part of the International Critics Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

14. Bombay Talkies (2013)


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Celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema – Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar , Anurag Kashyap and  Dibakar Bannerjee’s Bombay Talkies had a gala screening at  the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, where India was the guest country felicitated for a century of film-making.

15. Monsoon Shootout (2013)


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Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Varma, the film was much adulated by Indian audiences and the ones at Cannes as well. The Cannes jury lauded the Amit Kumar directorial for its attention to artistic and noir detailing.

16. Titli (2014)


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Kanu Behl’s Titli was screened at Cannes as part of the Un Certain Regard section, a film revolving around a volatile relationship between two brothers.

17.  Masaan (2015)


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Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan stole the show at Cannes Film Festival.The film  competed under Un Certain Regard category and bagged two awards winning a FIPRESCI (International Federation Of Film Critics) award and a Prix de l’Avenir (a special jury prize for promising debut films).

18. Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)


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Raman Raghav 2.0 opened to a packed house at the Cannes. Anurag Kashyap’s noir thriller had an amazing reception, as the film even received a standing ovation from the audiences!

19. Manto (2018)


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Nawazuddin Siddiqui stole the show with his portrayal of  Saadat Hasan Manto in  Nandita Das’s Manto. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, but back home it had a blink-and-you-miss appearance at the theatre.

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