Best year yet for Indian filmmakers with three wins at Cannes 2024 | Bollywood

At the Cannes Film Festival 2024, India celebrated an unprecedented success as three films – Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light”, Chidananda S Naik’s “Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know”, and “The Shameless” starring Anasuya Sengupta – clinched top honors across the festival’s competitive categories.

Indian cinema shines at Cannes 2024 with a trio of accolades

Culminating on Saturday, the 77th iteration of Cannes marked a stellar year for India, with a showcase of eight Indian or India-centric films.

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FTII graduate Payal Kapadia made history by snagging the coveted Grand Prix award for her film “All We Imagine As Light”.

“I’m immensely grateful to the Cannes Film Festival for embracing our film. I hope it’s not another three decades before an Indian film receives this honor,” she remarked in her acceptance speech.

The film, featuring Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, and Chhaya Kadam, delves into the lives of three women embarking on a road trip to a coastal town.

Kapadia’s groundbreaking film marks the first Indian entry in Cannes’ main competition by a female director in three decades, since Shaji N Karun’s “Swaham”.

Upon its premiere, the film was praised by critics, drawing parallels to the works of cinematic greats such as Satyajit Ray and Wong Kar Wai.

While the Grand Prix is ranked second in prestige at Cannes, it has a rich legacy of notable winners, including the Oscar-awarded “The Zone of Interest” and Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy”.

Already securing North American distribution, “All We Imagine As Light” awaits a screening date in India.

Indian artist Varun Grover expressed his elation, calling it an “unbelievable day” for the country’s cinema.

Payal Kapadia’s past honors include the Oeil d’or award at Cannes for her documentary “A Night of Knowing Nothing”, and she made waves with her short “Afternoon Clouds” in the Cinefondation category.

In a celebratory remark, actor Richa Chadha hailed Kapadia’s achievement as monumental.

“An incredible moment for Indian cinema! A standing ovation is in order,” exclaimed Malayalam actor Tovino Thomas.

The accolades didn’t stop there.

Anasuya Sengupta made her mark as the first Indian to clinch the best actress honor in the Un Certain Regard category for her role in “The Shameless”.

Dedicating her award to marginalized communities, Sengupta stated, “You don’t need to be part of a community to fight for its rights. What’s important is to be humane.”

Her rousing words were echoed on social media by actor Tillotama Shome.

Sandhya Suri’s “Santosh” also featured in Un Certain Regard, and while it didn’t win, its selection is a commendable feat.

The La Cinef recognition was awarded to Chidananda S Naik for his insightful narrative of a folk tale in “Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know…”. Mansi Maheshwari’s animation, “Bunnyhood”, also secured a La Cinef prize.

Cannes has a long history with Indian films, including notable past selections such as “Kharij”, “Garm Hava”, “Awaara”, and “Neecha Nagar”.

India’s classics were not forgotten, as Shyam Benegal’s “Manthan” got a Cannes Classics spotlight, with “Sister Midnight” and “In Retreat” capturing the attention in other categories, and an India-linked VR experience also featuring in the lineup.

In the year 2013, Indian cinema made its presence known with a lineup of five diverse films spanning various festival sections.

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