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Cannes invite for Dev Benegal
Subhash K Jha | March 31, 2006 17:21 IST
Dev Benegal began his filmmaking career well, starting out by adapting Upamanyu Chatterjee's novel English, August to the screen. The refreshing film was well received, but five years down the line, his next film Split Wide Open met with critical disapproval.
Now, the 46-year-old director's fortune takes another turn for the better. The Cannes Film Festival has included a Benegal script, Road, Movie, in the Festival's 2006 Atelier (workshop). This is an honour indeed, for only 15 films are selected from all over the world.
Dev is justifiably stunned. "I wrote this as an adventure, a journey of self-discovery. Little did I imagine it would get chosen for this prestigious event. It's a simple story but profound in its view of human life and survival in an age of globalisation," he says.
The film speaks of a young man's journey into the unknown. "Vishnu, a restless young man, comes up with a plan to save his father's faltering business. It's madness! A journey into the unknown, transporting an old decrepit truck across a harsh land. The road trip proves life-altering for each of the travellers, but especially for Vishnu who discovers life, love and laughter on the Indian highway," says Dev.
"Travelling psychologically with a touring cinema took me to a world where past and present and future freely coexist," he adds. "A carnival-esque journey where man, nature, animals and film all came together for that fleeting moment underneath the starlit sky. Road, Movie grew from this journey. A story of a young man transporting an old truck across the mythic landscape of India. (It is) A modern tale of survival and hope in a world of fear, prejudice and authority."
Dev's crew is already in place. "I'm now searching for a cast to play the young leads. I narrowed in on veteran international star Om Puri who plays a key comic-philosophical role in the film."
Road, Movie commences filming in Rajasthan and Kutch early next year.