Nandita Das is known for her unique voice in cinema and has impressed critics and viewers with her acting skills and directorial prowess. Her work has taken her to some of the world’s most prestigious film events including the Cannes film festival. So, when the multi-hyphenate shared a post on how the conversations about Cannes this year have come to be dominated by the fashion choices of attendees instead of the films, the internet took notice. What followed was a debate on whether the right representatives were at the Cannes film festival. However, the debate was not the objective of Nandita Das’ post, she has said in a new post. In a new upload, containing lovely images from her many appearances at the film festival, she wrote, “It seems like my post about Cannes has sparked an unintended debate! It’s amusing how a spontaneous sharing of thoughts and throwback images was perceived to be ‘a dig’! Pointing fingers is a pointless exercise. Things are often more nuanced than we think they are”
Speaking about the fashion element attached to the film festival and the Cannes red carpet in particular, Nandita Das said, “At such events, men have far less pressure about how they look. They can repeat their tuxedos, and no one will know or care. Whereas women have a much greater burden of looking beautiful, sexy, regal, stylish, stunning, unique etc. etc. Blaming them is overlooking the role each of us plays in perpetuating this disproportionate pressure. The celebrities, the festival, the media, and us viewers and readers…we are all complicit.”
Urging people to not colour her statement with hyperbole, Nandita Das added, “Please read my posts for what they are and not what you think is between the lines! I dislike sitting on judgment just as much as I don’t like to be judged for my choices. Nuances are often lost in short-form communications. For instance, I should not have written that the festival is about films because it is also about conversations and collaborations between filmmakers, storytellers, producers, technicians, and film lovers. That was between the lines.”
Speaking about Cannes in particular, Nandita Das offered a glimpse of her experience over the years, “A lot of the festival happens outside the Palais, in the informal spaces – in cafes and lobbies and on the Croisette and streets of Cannes. Over the years I have met some incredible minds and made friends that are going to last a lifetime. There is a reason why such events are called ‘festivals’. And in festivals, people are meant to wear festive clothes! As long as we don’t limit ourselves to it or obsess about it, we are doing justice to such experience.”
“I have never had a PR or a personal photographer. So here are some more Cannes candid’s with people I cherish, meeting and knowing. And memorable events like when 82 women who had a film in Cannes, walked the red carpet, demanding gender parity. @festivaldecannes #filmfestival” she said about the images she attached to her detailed note.
Seen with Nandita Das in the pictures are Rasika Dugal, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Hollywood star Salma Hayek, among several others.
The post by Nandita Das that led to a conversation around Cannes features photos from her visits to the French Riviera. The carousel begins with a photo of the filmmaker wearing a saree at Cannes. In the caption, she wrote, “Sadly missing Cannes this year. Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes! Considering I can’t show you the amazing films I watched or the conversations I have had or take you back in time when Manto premiered there. Here are a few images through the years in Cannes. And only the ones in Saris as there is a fair amount of chatter about the ‘celebrities who wore sarees in Cannes’. Well, it is surely my go-to garment. Simple, elegant, and Indian. Least fussy – easy to get in and get out of it. Each of the images have an interesting story behind it but too long to share. So, feel free to make up your own story from the photos you see. And guess the year they are from – 2005, 20013, 2016-2018!”
Several Indian celebrities were part of the Cannes film festival this year including Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vijay Varma, Sunny Leone, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Sara Ali Khan, Diana Penty, Urvashi Rautela, Mrunal Thakur, Esha Gupta, Manushi Chhillar, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Mouni Roy. Social media influencers Kusha Kapila and Dolly Singh too were present at the event, among other content creators. Actress-producer Anushka Sharma is expected to attend the ceremony in the coming days.