Indian actor rocks in ‘panche’ at Venice film festival

Saris have been a common sight at the world’s top three festivals, but men’s clothing was always West-conformist

The three big film festivals of the world are Venice, Cannes and Berlin. While Indian films are screened at the festivals, it was still rare for them to compete and make it to the ‘official selections’ category.

After many years, an Indian film has won this honour. The director and stars of the film, made in Malayalam and named ‘Chola’, were at Venice recently. However, what perhaps got more attention than the film itself was the actor Joju George, best known for his 2018 film ‘Joseph’.

In an unprecedented move, he wore the traditional white ‘mundu’ at the red carpet. His lead was followed by another young actor from the film, who wore a black mundu.

Indian attire isn’t a rarity at international film festivals. At the more popular Cannes film festival, actors such as Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan have sported saris.

Chola’s female lead Nimisha Sajayan also wore a sari at Venice.

The men are generally less experimental in what they wear; they go in shirts and trousers.

So, Joju’s appearance is a power move that has won hearts all over the Internet.

In a video posted on Joju’s Instagram page, we see the cast and crew walk down the red carpet, as Joju poses with arms raised for international photographers.

Chola had swept the Kerala state film awards last year. Touted as a thriller, the film was made by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, whose last film was the controversial ‘Sexy Durga’, which the censors had forced him to rechristen as ‘S Durga’.

‘Chola’ is being screened in competition for the festival’s ‘Orizzonti’ (horizon) prize. Orizzonti runs parallel to the main competition at the Venice film festival, where films compete for the prestigious Golden Lion.

Ray and Mira Nair

Only two Indian films have won the Golden Lion to date (Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito, 1957; Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, 2001), while one film has won the Orizzonti prize (Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court, 2014).

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