Editorial: India Shines At Cannes

Editorial: India Shines At Cannes

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 11:12 PM IST
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Payal Kapadia and the actors of All We Imagine as Light at Cannes 2024 | Twitter

It was in 1956 that Satyajit Ray won the Best Human Document award at Cannes for his cinematic masterpiece Pather Panchali. Sixty eight years later Payal Kapadia has won the prestigious Grand Prix for her debut feature film All We Imagine as Light at the just concluded 77th Cannes film festival. Hers was the first Indian film to enter the competition section in thirty years after Shaji N Karun’s Swaham made the cut in 1994. Kapadia, a product of Pune’s prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, described her film as a meditative soliloquy on loneliness and connection. It is the story of two Malayali nurses working in Mumbai and their complex relationships. It was indeed India’s year to shine at Cannes as actress Anasuya Sengupta won the best actress award for her role in Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov’s film, The Shameless, in which she plays a sex worker on the run. In the La Cinef category, Chidananda S Naik’s Sunflowers Were the First to Know got the first prize. Cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan received the prestigious Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens in Cinematography award, the first Asian to do so.

Kapadia, who had a run-in with the FTII management when she was a student in 2015 and participated in a four-month-long protest against the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the Governing Council chairman of FTII, was denied a grant, but she did not let these initial hiccups hamper her cinematic journey which has been one of excellence. Far from the glitz and glamour of commercial cinema, Kapadia has honed her craft bringing to mind the glory days of India cinema when Ray, Ritwick Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and others ruled the roost. It was also the era of parallel cinema notably by directors such as Shyam Benegal. Her journey only reiterates the importance of dissent and a questioning mind. Indian cinema has much to offer and it cannot remain confined to stereotypes pandered to by Bollywood.

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