Big B makes splash in Cannes

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Cannes, France, May 22 (UNI) Bollywood mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan is here in Cannes to promote his latest film, 'Cheeni Kum', the world premiere of which was organised yesterday evening by the distributors London-based Eros Entertainment.

The film will be released in India on the coming Friday.

''Cannes was beautiful and I am glad to be here,'' Mr Bachchan told UNI during the cocktails hosted by Eros. This was on a yacht, appropriately named "C'est La Vie"(Thisis Life !) Before coming, he had already been given a very good account of the beach-resort and the ongoing festival by his son Abhishek who (with his bride, Aishwarya Rai) had been here for the opening.

Referring to the title of the film, he confessed that he did like sweets, but as far as expressing love was concerned, he felt that it could be done in different ways. ''Not necessarily in sentimental terms'', he added. ''Look at how a young mother puts a black spot on the forehead of her young child whom she adores - so as to ward off the evil eye. It is thus possible to show love in other ways - by being witty or even while being gruff, which shows that you care for the other person,'' Mr Bachchan said.

''Fresh elements had been introduced in 'Cheeni Kum' to increase its value and to ward off the evil eye, so to speak,'' Mr Bachchan said.

Earlier, Mr Balakrishnan, who is the director of the film, told UNI, ''my film is a 'no-mush' love story, with little sweetness in it''.

Basically an ad-executive, this is his maiden feature film. It also marks the return of the renowned music-director, Ilayaraja to Bollywood, as he has scored the tunes in the movie.

The 64-year old Indian mega-star had a busy schedule in Cannes.

Prior to the cocktails and the screening of the film, he visited the Eros' stall in the Indian Pavilion, and released the poster of 'Drona', a forthcoming movie directed by Goldie Behl. It stars Abhishek Bachchan as a super-hero, with Priyanka Chopra playing his bodyguard (and reportedly having done her own stunts). Jaya Bachchan also has a role in the movie.

Another Indian actor taking his bows from the Cannes crowd was Irrfan Khan, whose latest film, 'A Mighty Heart' was shown in Out-of-Competition section yesterday. Khan walked the red carpet along with the Hollywood power-duo, Angelina Jolie (who plays the female lead) and Brad Pitt (who is a co-producer). Another taking the walk with them was Archie Panjabi, a NRI-actress who plays a side-role in the movie. Panjabi is a regular in Gurinder Chadha movies (she played the elder sister in 'Bend It Like Beckham').

The film is built around the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, a US journalist, by terrorists in Pakistan, and the subsequent efforts of his widow Mariane to get justice. It is a poignant tale, well-acted, and Khan plays the role of the head of Pakistan's anti-terror squad, who gives support and hope to Mariane.

In the press-conference following the screening, Khan expressed praise for his director, Michael Winterbottom who ''gave enough space to his actors to interpret and improvise their roles''.

''I was very nervous to get it right, just the experience [of enacting that role] is something I'm grateful for'', said Jolie.

She mentioned that like Mariane in real life then, she was also pregnant when filming the movie and could well-empathise with her.

Mariane Pearl, who had collaborated in the film and was also present said about producer-actor Brad Pitt, ''I put my confidence in him because we had the same objectives.'' ''This movie is for my son(which is also the last line in the movie),'' she added.

'Hungama' on the Cannes Beach: Some of the Indians attending the Cannes Festival let their hair down in an evening dinner on the Cannes beach yesterday, hosted by a well-known, UK-based socialite-cum-fundraiser for charities.

The evening was balmy and the mood totally informal as the guests made the most of the tasty food supplied by a London caterer, and even attempted a 'bhangra' to the live music by the hired crooner.

A notable attendee was actress Manisha Koirala, who had been here since last week, watching movies and taking in the ambience of Cannes.


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