69th Cannes Film Festival Selects Saurav Rai’s ‘Gudh’ Short Film as India’s Official Entry

The festival de Cannes 2016 has started rolling out the red carpet for its inauguration on May 11. A short film from the regional cinema of India, not multibillion Hindi film industry, is the sole official Indian entry on the list of 18 films in the ‘Cinéfondation’ category of the international French Riviera.

Gudh (meaning Nest) by Saurav Rai, a young filmmaker from Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal, is the only Indian film to represent India at the 69th Cannes Film Festival this year. Gudh is a short autobiographical film.

69th Cannes Film Festival, Cannes 2016, Indian's entry for Cannes 2016, Saurav Rai's Gudh film, Bengali films, Indian Cinema

Gudh is a memoir of my childhood in a very raw and bold form. It also depicts my relationship with my parents and grandparents. My individual style of filmmaking is not pleasing to anyone. – Saurav Rai, an alumnus of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) in Kolkata.

Saurav Rai is the fourth SRFTI alumnus to travel to the international Cannes Film Festival. He is currently busy shooting for a travelogue in New Delhi. The last three Bengali films by SRFTI alumni – Tridib Poddar, Anirban Dutta and Raka Dutta – to have represented Indian Cinema at the Cannes were Khonj, Tetris and Chinese Whispers in 2002, 2006 and 2007 respectively.

There are many contemporary Bengali films on unconventional subjects, which are traveling to international film festivals like New York Indian Film Festival for premiere. The Cannes 2016 has selected only one film from Bengal, while NYIFF 2016 will screen seven Bengali films in May. – IndianEagle

Born in Mangwa, a small village in Darjeeling district of Bengal, the 29-year-old Saurav Rai has depicted his childhood as a tale of two places – Darjeeling in India and Kathmandu in Nepal – with hints of the Gorkhaland movement for independent statehood of Darjeeling in the background. Gudh in Nepali language depicts how the political upheaval in demand for a separate state affected his childhood.

The selection of Gudh as India’s official entry to the 69th Cannes Film Festival is not his first international achievement. Saurabh Rai’s previous short film Monsoon Rains had traveled to the Munich Film Festival in 2014. He aspires to bring alive the untold stories of rural India on celluloid for a global audience.

Saurav Rai admits being influenced by the Satyajit Ray films and Mrinal Sen films from the golden era of Bengali Cinema and Indian Cinema at large. He likes watching popular art films by late Rituparno Ghosh from the next generation of Bengali filmmakers. Whenever he is accused of defying the grammar of filmmaking in his narrative technique of Gudh, he refers to his grandfather who used to compare him with Einstein as a stupid child.

Saurav along with his sound designer Ankita Purkayastha will leave for the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 10. The jury of the Festival De Cannes 2016 selected Gudh short film out of the 2300 films from film schools across the world.

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