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Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine As Light’ wins Grand Prix at Cannes

A Malayalam-language Indo-French co-production, the film marked India’s first entry in the main competition in three decades

Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine As Light’ wins Grand Prix at Cannes
[Source photo: Getty]

Payal Kapadia’s feature debut All We Imagine As Light scripted history at the Cannes Film Festival by winning the Grand Prix, the second highest honor of the festival after the Palme d’Or.

The Palme d’Or, the topmost honor at the annual film festival, went to Sean Baker’s Anora, while Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez took home the Jury Prize.

The jury, led by American filmmaker Greta Gerwig, announced the top winners from the 22 films that were in competition on Saturday night.

The jury included a diverse ensemble of international talent, including Turkish screenwriter Ebru Ceylan, American actress Lily Gladstone, and French actress Eva Green.

Kapadia’s acclaimed drama not only won the festival’s Grand Prix but also made her the first Indian woman to have her film showcased and win in the competition section.

Kapadia had earlier garnered acclaim for her documentary, A Night of Knowing Nothing, which premiered at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight in 2021 and won the Golden Eye award.

A Malayalam-language Indo-French co-production about the lives of two nurses living in Mumbai, All We Imagine As Light marked India’s first main competition entry in three decades since Shaji Karun’s Swaham and became the first Indian Grand Prix winner since Chetan Anand’s 1946 film Neecha Nagar.

A wave of congratulations poured in from the Indian film fraternity, with director Shekhar Kapur taking to X (formerly Twitter) to shower the team with praise.

“It seems to be India’s year at Cannes,” he wrote.

Indian filmmaker Chidananda S Naik’s 15-minute short film Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know also won big at the festival, bringing home the first prize of La Cinef — a section that showcases film school fiction or animated films.

Indian actress Anasuya Sengupta also won the best actress prize in the Un Certain Regard category for her role in Bulgarian filmmaker Konstantin Bojanov’s film, The Shameless.

Last year, the Grand Prix went to Jonathan Glazer’s war drama Zone of Interest, which went on to win the Academy Award for the best international feature.

It remains unclear if Kapadia’s venture will follow suit. It has not yet premiered in its home country.


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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