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India claims triple victory at Cannes 2024

India had its most successful year at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, where it showcased its creative talent and diverse storytelling on a global stage.

Movies by Indian filmmakers that won at Cannes 2024 / Image- IMDb

At the 77th Cannes Film Festival, India solidified its position as a major player in world cinema by winning three major awards. Indian filmmakers and talent showcased their diverse and rich storytelling abilities this year at the festival, with remarkable achievements.

Payal Kapadia's film "All We Imagine As Light" won the Grand Prix, the second-highest honor at Cannes, marking a historic moment as the first Indian film in 30 years to feature in the main competition. Kapadia's drama, centered on the lives of two Malayali nurses in Mumbai, was praised for its poignant exploration of life, love, and sisterhood.

"It was already a dream to be selected in competition and this was beyond my imagination," Kapadia expressed during her acceptance speech, addressing the jury which included prominent figures like director Greta Gerwig and actor Lily Gladstone.

In another significant achievement, Anasuya Sengupta became the first Indian to win the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard section for her role in "The Shameless," directed by Bulgarian filmmaker Konstantin Bojanov. The film delves into the dark world of exploitation and misery, following the lives of two sex workers. Sengupta dedicated her award to the queer community and other marginalized groups, emphasizing the need for equality and humanity.

"You don’t have to be queer to fight for equality, you don’t have to be colonised to know that colonising is pathetic — we just need to be decent human beings," Sengupta said in her powerful acceptance speech.

FTII student wins La Cinef Award

Chidananda S Naik, a student from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, won the La Cinef Award for Best Short Film with his 15-minute movie "Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know." Based on a Kannada folktale, the film tells the story of an old woman who steals a rooster, causing the sun to stop rising in her village. This win highlights the emerging talent from India's premier film institute.

Other notable Indian entries

While these were the major wins, other Indian films and filmmakers also made their mark at Cannes 2024. British-Indian director Sandhya Suri's "Santosh," about a woman police officer confronting sexism and corruption, featured in the Un Certain Regard section, although it did not win an award.

Additionally, the third prize in the La Cinef section went to India-born Mansi Maheshwari for her animated film "Bunnyhood."

India's strong presence at Cannes

This year, India's presence at Cannes was robust, with eight Indian or India-themed films being featured. The festival also showcased the restored version of Shyam Benegal's 1976 film "Manthan" in the Cannes Classics section. Other notable entries included Karan Kandhari's "Sister Midnight" in Directors' Fortnight and Maisam Ali's "In Retreat" selected for ACID Cannes. The virtual reality title "Maya: The Birth of a Superhero" also added to the Indian contingent.

India had its most successful year at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, where it showcased its creative talent and diverse storytelling on a global stage.
 

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