Cannes: Two women filmmakers from India are favourites for winning the top honours at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.Actor-director Nandita Das, the only Indian filmmaker in the official selection this year, is a leading contender for Un Certain Regard awards for her new film, 'Manto'. Debutante director Rohena Gera is vying for the Camera d'Or prize for the first film of a director, for her film, 'Sir'.
The Un Certain Regards awards will be announced at the closing section of the Cannes festival on Friday night. Indian film 'Masaan' by Neeraj Ghaywan had won the 'Promising Future Prize' of Un Certain Regard awards in 2005.
Gera, who was born in Pune, is also in line for the Critic's Week awards. Gera's first feature film, 'Sir', is the only non-European entry in the eight-film feature competition in the Critic's Week, a parallel section of Cannes festival. The Camera d'Or prize will be announced at the closing ceremony of the festival tomorrow.
'Manto', the second feature film of Das after 'Firaaq', is based on the life of iconic Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. "It is also the story of our society today," says Das, referring to Manto's struggle for upholding freedom of expression in the middle of last century.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the title role in 'Manto', an India-France co-production.
'Sir', another India-France co-production, tells the story of the aspirations of a domestic help working for a wealthy real estate family in Mumbai. The film stars Tillotama Shome and Vivek Gomber."The maids live with our families, but they are invisible and don't exist," says Gera, who lives in France.
There is no Indian film competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or, the top prize of the Cannes festival, which will be announced at the closing ceremony tomorrow. The last film in the Cannes competition was 'Swaham' ('My Own') by Malayalam director Shaji N Karun in 1994.
Indian-born Mira Nair won the Camera d'Or in Cannes for 'Salaam Bombay!' in 1988. Karun has also won a Camera d'Or Mention for his first film, 'Piravi' in 1989.(UNI)