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Foreign 
 

Arundhati finds new platform at Cannes
Vijay Dutt
(London, May 11)

Arundhati Roy has taken her anti-Narmada dam campaign to the 53rd Cannes Film Festival this year. She is there as a member of the jury set to decide the Palm d'Or.

Addressing the audience at the Palais du Cinema where the main films in the competition are to be shown , Ms Roy said, "I have just come from a world where terrible thi-ngs are happening and the lives of mllions of people are being ruined.

"One journeys between powerlessnesss and power. I wish that only a few of the cameramen and journalists who are here today could have been in the Narmada valley to witness the terrible things I have been seeing."

In the report in The Guardian she has been quoted saying, "It's a sign of times that I have been called an activist here today. It's a writer's business to comment on the world we live in -but when you do you get called an activist."

She added that the dam would be an environmental disaster for the valley, swamping a 150-mile stretch of some of the most beautiful and fertile land in India.

This year's Cannes Festival opened with the film Valet before a very few stars from the glamorous world of Hollywood. There were accusations and murmurs that it has lost prestige over the years. To make things more "uncinematic and exotic", most who arrived there, including Uma Thurman, got emb-roiled in the "tantrum" over the banning of the late night beach parties.

Ms Roy, says The Guardian, brought "a sharp dose of reality" to the Festival through her emotional appeal. Her comments, however, caused an "awkward silence", says the correspondent. He writes that "Roy was hurried out of the building by security guards when The Guardian tried to question her further." The report adds that Ms Roy arrived there from the Narmada valley "where farmers have been arrested for protesting against their land being flooded. She found it "hard to connect" to the media circus of Cannes.


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