It’s a perplexing sight to witness a swarm of desi influencers like Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila, and Beer Biceps invading the Cannes red carpet and flooding social media with selfies from the French Riviera. These individuals, who have zero contribution to cinema, have somehow managed to secure their spot at the prestigious event. The truth is out in the open: influencer PR companies collaborate with brands and pair them with social media bloggers, who then grace the red carpet on behalf of those brands. Additionally, some influencers forge alliances with Indian branches of French media houses like Brut to ensure their fleeting moment of fame under the spotlight. So, when you witness Instagram stars devoid of any film connections parading on the red carpet, be aware that it is a result of their PR companies pulling strings.
The once-revered Cannes Film Festival, renowned for attracting the crème de la crème of movie stars, filmmakers, and artists from around the world, seems to have taken a disappointing turn this year. The 76th edition of the festival (May 16-27) has witnessed a noticeable influx of content creators and influencers from India crowding the iconic Cannes red carpet. Desi influencers such as Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila, and Beer Biceps have managed to secure a ticket to Cannes, leaving many wondering about their qualifications for such an honor.
This surge of influencers raises concerns about the festival’s fading exclusivity and the erosion of its esteemed reputation, especially when these individuals have no genuine association with the world of films. The growing presence of desi influencers has sparked debates about whether Cannes is gradually losing its allure and significance in the realm of cinema.
Director and actor Nandita Das has rightfully pointed out the issue of celebrity culture overshadowing the celebration of excellence in cinema at Cannes. In a Facebook post, Das emphasized, “Sometimes people seem to forget that it (Cannes) is a festival of films and not of clothes!”
For instance, celebrated Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma’s 1990 film “Ishanou” has been meticulously restored by the Film Heritage Foundation and is being showcased in the Cannes Classics section. This accomplishment is monumental. However, despite being present at Cannes, the 88-year-old Sharma is unable to attend the screening of his own film due to illness, pointed out a Mumbai-based film aficionado.
Another noteworthy film is “Nehemich” by FTII student Yudhajit Basu is the only Indian Film to have made it to the competitive section of the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Yet, this young filmmaker wasn’t seen walking down the red carpet or celebrated on social media.
Lastly, Kanu Behl’s film “Agra” has been chosen for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight section. “Agra,” crafted by Kanu Behl and Atika Chohan, delves into the intricate dynamics of sexuality within a family, illuminating the profound dystopian divisions emerging in a rapidly contracting modern India confined within narrow boundaries. Have you heard of it on media platforms?
Cannes, now, only makes news for the over the top outfits worn by Indian actresses. Regrettably, with influencers flocking to promote products, Cannes has transformed into a hub for event managers and PR agencies, forsaking its role as a center of cinematic excellence. It has become far from a celebration of Indian cinema on the global stage.