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Nandita plays juror

Nandita Das talks about her role as a jury member of the Cannes Film Festival



VERSATILE Actor Nandita Das

Social crusader, theatre artiste, director, writer and orator, acclaimed actor Nandita Das' many facets underscore her versatility. One of the few Indians ever to be a juror at the prestigious 10-day 58th Cannes Film Festival, on in France Das speaks about her expectations from the festival, her views on commercial Indian cinema and her projects.

As a judge, what qualities would you be looking for in a good film?

Although film appreciation is subjective, the festival will probably give us guidelines based on which the films will be judged. But certain criteria will always hold true - originality of thought, subject, brilliance of form, technical proficiency, special significance to today's world/history of cinema/human predicament and a cinematic experience that would stir one's heart and mind.

What, in your view, stands in the way of Indian films from winning honours like the Oscars?

While Indian films, the Bollywood ones in particular, are becoming increasingly popular among the Indian diaspora and beyond, it is probably time we explored the full range of cinema, in its form and content. I think we should ask ourselves whether our films are good enough for screening at such international platforms. There are some films that show great sensitivity and artistic expression and are overlooked, or are unable to go through the process that is required for submission and acceptance. But we know it is not lack of money, talent or stories that stop us from producing masterpieces nowadays.

What are you looking forward to at the festival considering it has a great deal to do with glitz and glamour?

I look forward to interacting with accomplished actors and filmmakers and hope to be exposed to different perspectives from which a film is judged. In essence, I think Cannes will provide a stupendous learning experience for me.

What parameters do you follow when it comes to accepting a role? Is money also a criterion?

What I look for is a good script, a director who can translate it into an interesting cinematic experience and a role that's challenging and relatable. Often, all these things don't come together as there are many factors involved in filmmaking. All said and done, it is a gamble. But, the only thing I can confidently say is that the criteria for choosing a film have not been based on any reason other than the one I mentioned. We all need money, but it is a relative need and there is really no end to wanting.

How do you de-stress?

There's no real winding up or unwinding for me! However, the little time that I get to myself, I enjoy listening to music, spending time with my family and friends and reading. Reading scripts has taken up more time than having the luxury of reading books.

NEETA LAL

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