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Cannes 2024: Triple treat as India shines at the 77th edition of film festival

Best year yet for Indian filmmakers with three wins at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. It was undoubtedly the best year for the country which found space at the fest through eight Indian, or India-themed, films. Scroll down to read more.

Written By: Snigdha Behera @ New Delhi Published on: May 26, 2024 16:15 IST
Cannes 2024
Image Source : INSTAGRAM Cannes 2024

It was a triple feat for Indian talent at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival with Payal Kapadia's "All We Imagine As Light", "Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know" by FTII student Chidananda S Naik, and Anasuya Sengupta of "The Shameless" fame winning major awards in each of the three competitive sections of the prestigious gala.

Kapadia, an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), charted history by becoming the first Indian filmmaker to win the Grand Prix award for "All We Imagine as Light". The movie earned the honour, the second-most prestigious prize of the gala after the Palme d'Or, which went to American director Sean Baker for "Anora". Kapadia's movie, her feature directorial debut, is the first Indian film in 30 years and the first ever by an Indian female director to be showcased in the main competition, the last being Shaji N Karun's "Swaham" (1994).

Though the second most prestigious prize at Cannes, the Grand Prix has a storied history with prominent titles including this year's Oscar winner "The Zone of Interest" and Park Chan-wook's revenge drama "Oldboy" as part of the list. "All We Imagine as Light" has already found distributors for its North American release, but it's unclear when the film will be screened in India.

Anasuya Sengupta, one of the lead stars of Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov's Hindi-language movie, The Shameless, has created history by bagging the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. Sengupta, who hails from Kolkata, is the first Indian artist to win the category's top acting honour, marking a significant milestone for India at the prestigious film gala.

British-Indian director Sandhya Suri's "Santosh", also part of Un Certain Regard, didn't win any award but being featured at Cannes is an achievement in itself. Neeraj Ghaywan's "Masaan" previously won two awards—FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the section. 

Naik's "Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know…", which won the La Cinef first prize (film school fiction or animated films), was another feather in FTII's cap. Based on a Kannada folktale, the movie follows an old woman who steals a rooster following which the sun stops rising in the village. The third La Cinef prize went to India-born Mansi Maheshwari's animation film "Bunnyhood".

Previously, Indian films to be selected for the Cannes Competition segment include Mrinal Sen's "Kharij" (1983), M S Sathyu’s “Garm Hava” (1974), Satyajit Ray’s “Parash Pathar” (1958), Raj Kapoor’s “Awaara” (1953), V Shantaram’s “Amar Bhoopali” (1952) and Chetan Anand’s “Neecha Nagar” (1946).

This year, India's presence at Cannes also saw the restored version of Shyam Benegal's 1976 crowdfunded film "Manthan" in Cannes Classics. Karan Kandhari's "Sister Midnight" appeared in Directors' Fortnight and Maisam Ali's "In Retreat" was picked for ACID Cannes. "Maya: The Birth of a Superhero", a virtual reality title with an India connect, was also selected.

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