India was busy creating history at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

Sakshi Sharma
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India at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

India at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

India's performance at the 77th Cannes Film Festival is turning heads everywhere, whether it is Payal Kapadia, Chidananda S. Naik, Anasuya Sengupta's win, or Nancy Tyagi's red-carpet moment!

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival is officially wrapped up after a 10-day extravagant affair of films, celebrities and the red carpet. While the French Riviera basks in these glorious days every year in May, this felt like the first time India got to truly shine. Yes, during Cannes 2022 Deepika Padukone became a jury member and India was the focus country, but this time, we not only had Indian actors and content creators walking the red carpet but we also had a film in the main competition after 30 years which ended up winning the Grand Prix. That's not all; an FTII student film and an Indian actress also won awards. There were many talented Indian filmmakers and films based in India, an honorary award to Santosh Sivan, Manthan's screening. And in the midst of all the glitz and glamour, content creator Nancy Tyagi stole the spotlight! 

Check it all out here!

An Indian film did not just compete but also won the Grand Prix

After nearly 30 years, an Indian film marked India's first entry in competing for the Plame d'Or and brought back the Grand Prix (runner-up to Palme) home. Payal Kapadia's All We Imagine as Light has created history with this win and also made her the first Indian woman to ever win at Cannes. A Malayalam-Hindi story about female friendship by a female director winning on a global platform is an inspiring moment that we want to remember for a while.

FTII student film won at La Cinef section at Cannes 

Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know, a 16-minute short film made by a student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Chidananda S Naik, competed in the La Cinef section (a competition for film students) and won the top award. A doctor turned filmmaker winning at Cannes is the journey that gives hope to every dreamer! 

Anasuya Sengupta won Best Actress in Un Certain Regard for The Shameless

In a strange turn of events, Anasuya Sengupta, a set designer who turned back to acting after 15 years, won the Best Actress award at Cannes for a Hindi film made by a Bulgarian director about forbidden romance and sex workers. Anasuya received the trophy in the Un Certain Regard segment for her portrayal of Renuka in Konstantin Bojanov’s film The Shameless, making her the first Indian actor to win at Cannes for their performance. 

After restoration, Manthan gets screened at Cannes Classics 

Film Heritage Foundation's restored version of Manthan, a 1976 classic by Shyam Benegal starring Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Girish Karnad, and Amrish Puri, was premiered at the Cannes Classics section. It is India's first crowdfunded film that was made because 5 lakh farmers from Gujarat contributed Rs. 2 each for the film to be made. The film is ready for a theatrical re-release on June 1 and 2! 

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan conferred with the Pierre Angénieux Tribute Award at Cannes

Acclaimed cinematographer Santosh Sivan became the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Pierre Angénieux Tribute Award (ExcelLens in Cinematography) at Cannes. The honor was bestowed in recognition of his career and exceptional quality of work. He received the award from Preity Zinta, who also marked her return to the festival after 17 years. 

Sister Midnight at Directors' Fortnight and Santosh in Un Certain Regard 

Karan Kandhari's Sister Midnight, a dark comedy about a newly married couple starring Radhika Apte and Ashok Pathak (Panchayat's Binod), premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section. Sandhya Suri's Santosh competed in the Un Certain Regard section. Starring Shahana Goswami and Sunita Rajwar, it tells the story of a newly widowed woman who becomes a police constable and gets involved in a murder investigation.

In Retreat at ACID and Bunnyhood at La Cinef 

In Retreat, a film by FTII's Maisam Ali, a Ladakh native born in Iran, was screened at Cannes under the ACID (Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema) section. It is the first time an Indian film has been selected in this section that promotes independent cinema. This 75-minute film set in Ladhak is about a 50-year-old man and his inner and outer journey as an urban nomad. Bunnyhood, a film by Meerut-born Mansi Maheshwari, secured a spot in the La Cinef category. The film was her graduation project at the London National Film and Television School (NFTS), and hence not a submission from India but by an Indian student in London. 

Nancy Tyagi steals the spotlight

Wearing clothes that were designed and styled by herself, content creator Nancy Tyagi has not only captured hearts here but all over the world. Her journey from the streets of India to the Cannes' red carpet is inspiring to say the least.

Apart from all of this, there were debuts on the carpet from stars walking down the red carpet to the Bharat Pavilion at the Marche du Cannes (the market of Cannes) with its many announcements, events, and discussions. Overall, India went beyond just being about fashion on the red carpet and became about cinema this year. 

To learn more about each day, please check out our day-wise Cannes highlights!

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cannes santosh sivan Payal Kapadia nancy tyagi All We Imagine As Light sunflowers were the first ones to know Chidananda S Naik india at cannes 2024 anasuya sengupta manthan