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‘Bombay Rose’ set to open Venice International Film Critics' Week

by Gehna Kapany


Gitanjali Rao’s ‘Bombay Rose’ will be the first Indian animated feature to screen at the Film Critics' Week at the Venice International Film Festival on August 29.

Rao’s highly anticipated film will have its world premiere as the opening film of the 34th Venice International Critics' Week. ‘Bombay Rose’ illustrates the story of a flower seller who is torn between safeguarding her family and falling in love. Set on the streets of Mumbai, it is a filmic paean that chronicles the lives of people who migrate from small towns, seeking minimal life in the maximum city. 

Rao’s debut animated feature adds to her motley of accolades as her previous animated shorts (‘Blue’, ‘Orange’, ‘Printed Rainbow’, ‘Chai’ and ‘TrueLoveStory’) have been to around 150 film festivals and received over 30 awards. ‘Printed Rainbow’ won three awards at the 2006 Cannes Critic’s Week and was short-listed for the Oscars in 2008. 

“I have always wanted to paint stories about people who live and love in the streets of Bombay, never become success stories, yet their struggle for survival makes heroes out of them. This is the city with its cast of unsung heroes and heroines that I want to share with the world and why I started this labour of love six years ago.  My hand-painted short films have travelled the globe and I have found connections to my films in the most unusual places. From Cannes to Kanpur. These fans of my stories give me confidence that my first feature film, ‘Bombay Rose’, about simple people with their simple yet impossible dreams, can connect with people around the world ”, said Rao, elated that her film will open the prestigious Critics' Week at Venice.

Rao feels deeply connected to Mumbai and wanted the film to highlight its culture. Set in 2005, the film uses subtleties like rain, bright colours, dilapidated buildings, and traffic to explore the hustle-bustle of the city. The fame and recognition earned by ‘Bombay Rose’ is a fitting tribute to the six years of patience and painstaking labour put in by the director and the team. It is a victory for the artistic acumen and cinematic prowess of the Indian cinema which has come a long way and made its mark all over the world. 

Produced by Cinestaan Film Company, the film is in co-production with Film d’Ici and was delivered at Mumbai based PaperBoat Animation Studios. Acclaimed sound designer P. M. Satheesh worked creatively alongside Rao to fabricate this story of Rao’s dreams. 

“Gitanjali’s beautiful film has made us and India proud by being invited to open Critics' Week at Venice. It has been our privilege to work with Gitanjali and PaperBoat Studios over the last two years to bring this piece of beautiful cinema to life. We are thrilled to share that the Venice Film Festival shall be the first of many international festival premieres for this stunning love letter to Mumbai and its people’’, shared Rohit Khattar, Chairman of Cinestaan Film Company.