Mumbai, May 17 -- Bollywood heroines continue to dazzle on the Cannes red carpet, but the real stars of this year's festival are two film-makers who aren't household names like Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Gurvinder Singh, director of Chauthi Koot, and Neeraj Ghaywan, director of Masaan, have done India proud. This is the first time in the history of the festival that two Indian films have made it to the prestigious Un Certain Regard section.
This afternoon, Chauthi Koot had its world premiere at Cannes. The audience included the minister of state for information and broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who was introduced to the audience by festival delegate general, Thierry Fremaux.
The movie, an austere meditation on the aftermath of the insurgency on Punjab, is the first Punjabi film to be screened at Cannes.
After the screening, everyone gathered at the India Pavilion for an after party. It's the epicenter for all the India action at Cannes. All day, the space is buzzing with panels and meetings. I spotted Mallika Sherawat and Nandita Das holding forth on co-productions.
Earlier in the day, I also ran into Aishwarya breezing into the Martinez Hotel with her mother, and daughter, Aaradhya. Despite the long flight, Aishwarya looked fresh and ready for the manic schedule.
Aaradhya is probably the festival's youngest guest. Spotting Frances McDormand in a corridor was one of the highlights of my day. She is married to director Joel Coen, who is head of the main competition jury here. Also, meeting the iconic Chinese director Jia Zhangke was a delight. He was sweet, unassuming and he promised to try and come to the Mumbai Film Festival.