'Cheeni Kum' strikes the chord in Cannes

BOLLYWOOD ICON Amitabh Bachchan came, saw and instantly generated more than a ripple of excitement among the Indian contingent attending the 60th Cannes Film Festival. Bachchan is in Cannes to promote Eros International's new film,

Cheeni Kum, as well as to participate in the rapidly expanding entertainment company's 30th anniversary celebrations.

"I feel great to be here. The buzz being generated by our cinema is palpable. I knew what to expect because (son) Abhishek had given me feedback about the awesome quality of the Cannes Film Festival in terms of organisation and content," the superstar said.

In the evening, Bachchan attended the premiere of advertising pro R.Balki's maiden feature film, Cheeni Kum, in the company of Eros International's Kishore Lulla. The audience, made up of mixed nationalities, gave him a standing ovation.

A bittersweet romantic comedy, Cheeni Kum, on its part, struck an instant chord with the audience. A skilfully crafted film, it bears the stamp of a director who, thanks to 17 years of advertising work, is technically sound and in firm control of the essence of his idea.

The film finds Bachchan and Tabu is fine fettle and the director negotiates his way through the tricky tale of a 64-year-old man falling in love with a 34-year-old unmarried woman without slipping up.

"There is no real difference between a feature film and an ad film," Balki said.

"Both hinge on an idea, only that in the case of a feature you have to sustain your interest in that idea over a far longer period. An ad film typically requires two to four months of ideation and four to five days of shooting. A feature film obviously takes much more time." Bachchan, with whom Balki has had a long association in his capacity as an ad filmmaker, was an automatic choice for the role of the arrogant, acid-tongued London chef, as was Tabu.

"I wouldn't have made the film without the two of them," Balki said. The cast of Cheeni Kum also features Zohra Segal and Paresh Rawal.

Bachchan proud of recognition for Indian cinema

BACHCHAN, WHO is also the brand ambassador of the Indian International Film Awards (IIFA), said he was looking forward to his visit to Yorkshire, England, for this year's edition of the event in early June.

"IIFA is no longer just an awards ceremony. It has grown into something bigger and become a sort of a film festival as well as an event that contributes to important causes."

He said he was delighted at the recognition Indian films and stars were receiving from the French people. "Cannes is internationally famous for marketing films all over the world. It is wonderful to find Indian cinema here as well," said Bachchan.

Elaborating further, he said he was happy to see that immigration and security officials at the airport recognised him and talked about his films. "Indian films were making a mark in Franc," he said.

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