In 2014, it was the dub for Fugly that stopped me from going there (as the movie released 0n 13th June) and in 2015, I was shooting for Singh is Bliing. At that time, I had promised myself that come what may, I would not miss another Cannes. It’s where I rejuvenate myself and get charged and a year without Cannes does suck for me in many ways.
Well, many will say, what’s the big deal, Cannes is not that big or there’s nothing that can justify this sentiment. But for me and my journey in films, Cannes holds the place that is super special.
When I came to Mumbai, I had no idea about films, and how they were made. I was just an engineer who had quit his job and was resting on the laurels of my super successful past, thinking I am going to be the next discovery of Bollywood.
But everyday in Mumbai would bring a new lesson and new realisation. Every day there would be a fall to the point that it would be difficult to get up. I reached a point where I wanted to give up.
I did shoot for some foreign film and it was a small, passing part, I was lucky enough to meet the director, but all that was in the distant past. Every day was turning out to be a task. Often depression would hit so hard that I would stay in my room for days. There was no-one I could talk to. I did not know anyone in Mumbai. And back home every one was pinning hopes on to me. I had rebelled. Came to Mumbai against my parent’s better judgement. Till then, I had never failed. Life was better, than it had been for a Prince of a Disney film. Every time depression would hit me, I will lift myself up, telling myself that I am made of tougher stuff and a favourite line of that time was, nothing can keep me down for long. I would reiterate this for hours and suddenly will find strength back in some spiritual verse or some heart lifting story.
Believe you me, my spirituality is what saw me through that worst phase of my life.
Whenever I look back at that time, I want to go back and hug myself. The scared, afraid me, for this was the first real struggle of my life. I was the over protected kid of this amazing family where values and goodness of life would hold more than anything else. And here I was struggling in a field I knew nothing of, in an industry where, whom you know, matter more than who you . More importantly, I trying for something I was not skilled for at all. Suddenly values and morals seem like the issues of the first world people and survival and breaking in seemed like what I was dealing with. How that time passed, I still wonder.
The foreign movie, I did a cameo in, that was never supposed to be released became, the biggest Oscar success in recent times and I despite being a minuscule part of it, managed to get invited to Cannes. My story that year turned out to a real-time story of an underdog.
When I went to Cannes for the first time, I did not even know what film festivals were all about.
What was Cannes? I did not know. Seriously. What are film festivals for ? What is a market ? May be a market for collecting memorabilia? I had no fucking clue. But there I was in Cannes. And I had beginners luck on my side. Those days in cannes shaped my destiny forever. Those ten days deserve a longer tribute for they shaped my life , but here I can say that my training ground was the biggest film festival of the world. Hence every other market and festival looks small to me. I had been to the best parties in the first year and met the best of the best , that anything else just looks way too small. Life has really made me struggle before but the trip to Cannes was the reward that it offered me, to, more than, make up for what I had been through.
Some call it a publicity gimmick, some call it a dream land and some call it a vanity exercise, but for me Cannes is always like homecoming. I call it my lucky charm. Be it my connection to Cairo film festival, or starting of my wonderful company Bombay Berlin Film Productions, or just the amazing circle of wonderful friends, the world over, I owe it all to Cannes.