PeepingMoon Exclusive: 'It is quite an honour and responsibility,' says Country Of Blind actor Namita Lal on representing India at Cannes Film Festival 2022

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It was a hattrick for Namita Lal at the Cannes Film Festival 2022. The actress-producer visited the film festival for the third time in a row. This time, she was at the festival to launch the poster of her film Country Of Blind and to represent a feature film titled Before Life, After Death.

In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon, Namita spoke about her Cannes experience over the years, meeting Deepika Padukone, Julianne Moore and AR Rahman, and representing the country globally.

Excerpts from the interview:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Namita Lal (@namita_lal)

This is your 3rd Cannes visit. Has it been a learning experience for you? 

Every Cannes visit is a huge learning experience. The first experience was very overwhelming for someone like me who has been a banker and stepped into the industry. I was more settled in the second year. This year, my films have been released on the OTT and I got a special badge of being a producer. This makes me go around the world, and attend festivals and the experience is valuable. 

Please share something about your films?

In 2018, we had come with Lihaaf and we launched the first look poster with Mr Subhash Ghai. In 2019, I went there for Oxygen which is yet to release and is doing the rounds of the festival circuit. This year, I had two films of mine. One as a producer and one as an actor. One of the films is titled Country Of Blind (based on The Country of the Blind,  a short story written by H. G. Wells). Rahat Kazmi, the director of Lihaaf, has adapted the story. It is a beautiful film and we have shot it above Srinagar. The location was banned from the public for quite some time. We play cyclists in that film and my co-star in Hina Khan. 

The second film is called Before Life, After Death and it is directed by Anshul Tiwari whose short film was in MAMI in 2019. It is a full feature film about 2 Indian families from Singapore. Nobody has ever made a film on Indians in Singapore. It is an intense human drama. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Namita Lal (@namita_lal)

India is the country of honour at Cannes. Do you sense any additional responsibility as you are one of those representing our country globally?

Cannes started honouring countries this year. It absolutely puts a lot of responsibility on our shoulders because we are hosting a lot of events around India. India is showcased as a country that can produce great content and a country where there is a lot of talent. In fact, my Uber driver was interested in knowing about Indian cinema and the language. It is quite an honour and responsibility.   

Celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Julianne Moore and AR Rahman attended the film festival too. Did you get a chance to meet them? 

Yes, I met all of them and clicked pictures too. Julianne was very gracious and allowed people to click pictures with her and take her autograph etc. That’s why I had the courage to go and take a selfie with her. Deepika was nice too and posed with me for a selfie too.  I have met A R Rahman previously and as always, he is a gracious man. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Namita Lal (@namita_lal)

Do you have any memorable incidents to share from your previous visits to the Cannes Film Festival? 

When I walked the red carpet for the first time, I forgot to carry my pass. I rushed to get it and had a fear of tripping over the carpet. All the jury members were right behind me and it is a long red carpet. It was a scary and overwhelming experience. It was a trembling moment and this year, I was more confident.

When we were at the Cannes Film Festival for the launch of Lihaaf, it was very gracious of Subhash Ghai to attend the event. He came on the stage and being the biggest showman in India, he wished luck to Rahat Kazmi and filmmakers like him who make films like Lihaaf based on Ismat Chughtai stories because that’s what brings India to the global front. It was an emotional moment.

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