Mumbai, May 17 -- The Cannes Film Festival is a master-class in precision. Everything is micro-managed, right down to which direction the stars look in as they pose on the red carpet, and how long they pose in one place before moving a little ahead so that the next lot of photographers can capture the incredible fashions.
But even the mighty French can't control the weather. Which is why on opening night in Cannes, beautifully dressed women struggled to keep billowing gowns and wayward hair in place as gusts of wind and rain put a dampener on the famed red carpet at the Palais des Festivals. Among them were our very own Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan and Mallika Sherawat, the latter in a sober mustard gown. Even her most acidic critics have to admire Mallika's ability to unexpectedly show up where it counts! A little after her, Amitabh Bachchan walked the red carpet, along with his The Great Gatsby co-star, Leonardo Di Caprio.
The Great Gatsby brought a torrent of star power to the Croisette, but many Western critics skewered the film for being gaudy and overwrought - visually and dramatically. Earlier in the day at a press conference, director Baz Luhrmann defended his work by saying that even the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was derided when the book was first published. But Luhrmann, who didn't give his actors much of a chance to speak, asked critics not to hold back on the criticism. "I love it," he said. When asked why he chose Bachchan for the role of the shady businessman, Meyer Wolfsheim, Luhrmann replied that he wanted someone charming, beguiling and larger than life and that the first person he thought of was Bachchan.
Despite the somewhat damp start - literally and film-wise - the 66th Cannes Film Festival looks like a sure-shot winner. Coming up in the next few days are films by Asghar Farhadi, the Coen brothers, Sofia Coppola, James Gray and Jim Jarmusch. It's a mouthwatering slate - some say the best in years.
The films make Cannes what it is. This is the world's premiere film festival and each year it sets the global cinematic agenda - the red carpet, the fashions and the breathless media headlines about pretty frocks are just the icing on the cake. Each year, Cannes attracts more than 35,000 film professionals and over 4,500 journalists. It's an unparalleled cinema carnival. So irrespective of weather conditions - more rain forecast for the next two days - Cannes will keep buzzing like a beehive on steroids!