As the 75th Cannes Film Festival commences from Tuesday, veteran Hindi cinema actress Shabana Azmi recalled her experience at the international event 46 years ago. The 71-year-old shared a black and white picture from the screening of 1975 film Nishant. The picture featured Shabana along with her co-star Smita Patil and director Shyam Benegal. The trio were all smiles as they posed for the photo. Smita and Shabana had worn traditional Indian sarees as they walked the Cannes red carpet.
Sharing the picture, Shabana recalled how her experience at Cannes went. The actress added to the caption, “At Cannes for Nishant 1976.” Shabana confessed that the team of Nishant had no publicity material and no money, but director Benegal asked her and Smita to wear their best sarees and walk up and down the promenade at the French Riviera to attract attention.
Shabana added that the two actresses were successful in grabbing the attention of the people at Cannes as she added, “people turned around to stare at these strange looking exotic creatures.” When they managed to catch their attention, both Shabana and Smita would persuasively plead and say, “‘Our film is showing on so and so date please come to watch it.’” The actress added that the team of Nishant was successful in their creative publicity strategy since they managed to secure a full house at the screening. “That was the advertising acumen of Shyam Benegal,” concluded Shabana.
Commenting on Shabana’s post, Bollywood actress and producer Richa Chadha wrote, “Golden years of cinema. We're privileged to have you. Love you.” Actress Divya Dutta also commented on Shabana’s post, “I have this picture in my collection. So beautiful.”
Nishant was based on an original screenplay written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The movie starred Girish Karnad, Amrish Puri, and Naseeruddin Shah as well. The film won the 1977 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.