AA Edit | A Cannes salute for Indians

Indian films and talent shine at Cannes with wins in the Grand Prix and Best Actress categories, highlighting diversity and social issues

There was grand recognition for the creativity of Indian cinema in two prestigious awards won at Cannes, one of the grandest of film festivals around the world. Usually grandiose in its productions that aim at pan-India audiences, Indian cinema is chuffed with acceptance of its creativity and imaginativeness in tackling universal themes with a heavy dose of realism like the one in All We Imagine as Light and winning the silver medal as it were in the Grand Prix award, second only to the coveted Palme d’Or.

The joy for Indian cinema was doubled as Anasuya Sengupta won “Best Actress” in the “Un Certain Regard” category for The Shameless and dedicated her award “to the entire queer community and other marginalised communities”, thus striking a blow for diversity and inclusivity. And charmingly she said that one does not have to be queer to fight for equality, a battle that is a global challenge for those of a different sexuality from the norm or normal.

The daring theme of a noir thriller featuring a sex worker fleeing a Delhi brothel after killing a policeman may have been handled sensitively by a Bulgarian director, but it served to highlight the variety in roles taken on by Indian actresses and shining in them. Given its history, if the Cannes festival is not busy applauding political themes, it is looking to award art cinema that shows empathy for the fight that the fairer sex must wage for their rights, which others simply assume if they are of the dominant gender.

The story of an erotic New York dancer winning the top prize for Sean Baker’s Anora completed a triple of women themes triumphing this year at the pretty town in the French Riviera. As Payal Kapadia who made history with her debut feature film that was the first ever by an Indian female director to be showcased in the main competition, said about women often being pitted against each other more than thriving in friendship.

There were surprising results as well as predictable ones with Cannes conveying the universal message of cinema as a unifying force, and India’s creative filmmakers and artists who have portrayed with merit the fight for equality and justice had a big hand in it.

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