Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is returning to the big screen after a five-year hiatus with Jazbaa, a Sanjay Gupta-directed action drama about an attorney forced to defend an unsavory criminal after her daughter is kidnapped. Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World, The Lunchbox) co-stars as a suspended cop. Rai Bachchan and Gupta were in Cannes this past week to screen a promo reel for international distributors. I sat down with each of them to discuss Jazbaa and the current state of Bollywood and indie Indian cinema. The genres have both seen recent growth around the world, with hits on each end of the spectrum from PK to The Lunchbox. Gupta, well-known for the gritty crime drama Shootout At Wadala, says he falls somewhere in the middle of the two areas. Jazbaa is something of a departure for the director who is for the first time working with a female protagonist.
Rai Bachchan, who’s often been referred to as the most beautiful woman in the world, says she was looking for something different to mark her return to film. The 1994 Miss World winner and star of such hits as 2002’s Devdas, 2006’s Dhoom 2 and 2008’s Jodhaa Akbar, has a special relationship with Cannes where she is often on the red carpet. In 2003, she became the first Indian actress ever to participate on the main jury. Check out excerpts of our chats above, with Rai Bachchan (on a very windy day), and with Gupta at the Deadline Video Studio in the Nikki Beach Petit Bar at the Carlton Hotel.