Cannes successes shine light on Indian indie filmmakers - Hindustan Times
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Cannes successes shine light on Indian indie filmmakers

ByHT Editorial
May 26, 2024 10:59 PM IST

In an industry predominantly driven by glitz and glamour, the accolades highlight how Indian filmmaking can create a dent in the ever-changing world of cinema

India has won big at the Cannes Film Festival this year with many firsts. Anusuya Sengupta became the first Indian actor to win the best actress at the Un Certain Regard segment for her role in The Shameless; Chidananda S Naik’s Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know won the first prize of La Cinef for best short film; cinematographer Santosh Sivan was bestowed the Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography award; and most importantly, Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine As Light bagged the prestigious Grand Prix, the second highest award at the festival. It was the first film in 30 years to have competed in the main category.

Payal Kapadia, second from left , winner of the grand prize for 'All We Imagine as Light,' poses with Divya Prabha, from left, Chhaya Kadam and Kani Kusruti during the photo call following the awards ceremony at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP/PTI)(AP05_26_2024_000234A)(AP) PREMIUM
Payal Kapadia, second from left , winner of the grand prize for 'All We Imagine as Light,' poses with Divya Prabha, from left, Chhaya Kadam and Kani Kusruti during the photo call following the awards ceremony at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP/PTI)(AP05_26_2024_000234A)(AP)

In an industry predominantly driven by glitz and glamour, the accolades highlight what the festival truly signifies and how Indian stories and filmmaking can create a dent in the ever-changing world of cinema. They emphasise how fluent, grounded and fulfilling independent cinema can be, suspended from the commercial la-di-dah of the box office. In one of her interviews, Kapadia makes the pertinent point that we make great films in India, which are “arthouse”, but never make it to prestigious festivals for reasons best known to us. Art in India is a complex webbing of cultures, languages and societies often limited by the aspiration of “unity in diversity”. Ironically, Kapadia, who is now being toasted for her Cannes success, was “disciplined” by her alma mater, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), in 2015 for participating in a student protest against the appointment of BJP leader and small-time actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the premier film school. Incidentally, Kapadia, Naik and Sivan are FTII alumni.

Though we have become more accepting of the commercial successes of films made in languages other than Hindi, like RRR or Pushpa, there is much to be viewed in terms of nuances of the different cultures for both us and the West. As for the audience, there is scope to indulge in the manifold, genre-bending filmmaking and not always get swayed by the allure of box office success.

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