Ashim Ahluwalia heading to Cannes with `Miss Lovely`
New Delhi: Ashim Ahluwalia`s `Miss Lovely` has been selected to be screened at Cannes this year and the excited director is headed to the French Riviera with the film`s cast next month.
Being the only Indian entry at Cannes 2012, the film will be shown in competition as part of the Un Certain Regard section which presents movies with different visions and styles seeking international recognition.
"It is great that `Miss Lovely` is going to be screened at Cannes. I will be there for the screening and will reach Cannes mid-May. But before that I am going to Berlin to finish the film`s post-production," Ashim told PTI.
The 40-year-old, who makes short films and documentaries, said it was the visibility of his first feature film "Jane and George" that got his second one into the coveted Cannes film festival.
"Jane and George was screened at the Toronto and Berlin film festivals. It also won a National award. Moreover, I was named one of the ten best emerging film directors in `Take 100: The Future of Film`. That got me onto the Cannes radar. They asked me to send in a rough cut of `Miss Lovely`. That`s how the film got selected," said Ashim.
"Miss Lovely", set in the mid-eighties, is about two brothers who make C grade films in Mumbai. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui of "Kahaani" fame, former Miss India contestant Niharika Singh and Anil George.
"I think the fact that the film is about cinema and filmmaking, that too in an unexplored industry, is what impressed selectors at Cannes," Ashim said.
The film is an international co-production, with producers from Germany and Japan chipping in money.
Ashim said he had set out to make a documentary on the `C` grade film industry, but ended up making a feature film.
"People don`t know much about this industry, but these are the kind of films shown in small towns. It is like the bad cousin of Bollywood. For me as an independent filmmaker, it was an interesting space to work in.
"I was hanging around with people involved in this industry and they gave me valuable inputs about how the business is mostly illegal. There are a semi-porn elements in the films and many actresses double up as sex workers. But they refused to talk in front of the camera, so I was forced to turn it into a feature film," Ashim said.
That was when he roped in Nawazuddin and Niharika. "I didn`t know either of them at the point. Their names were suggested to me. I did not want to work with any well-known actor.
"I had seen Nawaz in a small role in `Firaaq`. Niharika was having her Bollywood moment at the time starring in a film with Himesh Reshammiya, but that never released so `Miss Lovely` has become her first film."
Ashim said it has been a struggle trying to do good work in the independent space and there isn`t much scope for such films in India.
"It is very difficult to get funding for such films which have nothing to do with Bollywood whatsoever. If my first film wouldn`t have been successful, I couldn`t have survived."
The director is of the opinion is that people have had enough of Bollywood and they want to watch fresh content now.
"Bollywood has become too boring. People have had enough of it. They want different kinds of films now," he said.