Bollywood actor-cum-filmmaker Nandita Das’s biographical film on writer Saadat Hasan Manto is the only Indian film to have made it to the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival this year, according to The Hindu.
The film on the celebrated Urdu writer with Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role will be competing in the 71st Cannes Film Festival’s official “Un Certain Regard” section.
“Last few days of uncertainty and anticipation was weighing on the entire cast and crew, that has put in all their passion and hard work. While Cannes is the most prestigious platform for the film, and a great start, the journey will be complete only when we get to share it with all of you,” Das said in a Facebook post.
She added, “Having been on the jury twice, and an audience at Cannes many a time, I have to say, it is truly a haven for film lovers. I look forward to seeing how the audience there reacts to this film that I have lived with for almost seven years. For me, this film and everything else that I do, will always remain a means to trigger conversations, a small step towards ‘the world we want to see’.”
The Cannes Film Festival is being held this year from May 8 to May 19.
The poster of the film and some footage and images were unveiled at the India pavilion at Marche du Film (Film Market) at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival last year.
In a brief interaction at the festival last year Das had said that she first narrated the idea of the film to Siddiqui at Cannes on the steps of Palais de Festivale at an earlier edition of the festival.
Das has served twice on the jury of Cannes Film Festival. In 2005, she was on the main competition jury alongside Faith Akin, Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, Benoît Jacquot, Emir Kusturica, Toni Morrison, Agnès Varda, and John Woo. In 2013, she was part of the Cinéfondation and short films jury with Jane Campion, Maji-da Abdi, Nicoletta Braschi, and Semih Kaplanoğlu.
In 2011 she received the Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), one of the nation’s highest civilian awards. She was commended for her “contribution towards the development of Indo-French cooperation in the field of cinema.”