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Cannes 2024 has been good towards Indian films and artists. After Anasuya Sengupta won the ‘Un Certain Regard Prize’ Best Actress award for The Shameless, Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine as Light was awarded the prestigious ‘Grand Prix’ award on Saturday. The film was screened on Thursday night and is the first Indian film to compete in 30 years. It is also the first film by an Indian female director to be showcased in the main competition. The last Indian movie selected for the main competition was Shaji N Karun’s Swaham in 1994. 

Payal received the Grand Prix from actor Viola Davis. The filmmaker and the cast of All We Imagine as Light – Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, and Chhaya Kadam, went on stage together to receive the award.

Payal Kapadia on All We Imagine as Light winning at Cannes 2024

In her thank you speech, Payal Kapadia thanked the jury for bestowing them honour, saying, “It was my dream to be selected in the competition. This was beyond my imagination. So thank you.” The filmmaker then thanked her cast – Kani, Divya and Chhaya, and hugged them too. She added that the film would not have been possible without them.

Payal said, “I’m very nervous, so I wrote something down. Thank you to the Cannes Film Festival for having our film here. Please don’t wait 30 years to have another Indian film.” She added, “This film is about friendship between three women and oftentimes, women are pitted against each other. This is the way society is designed, and that’s really unfortunate. But for me, friendship is a very important relationship because it can lead to greater solidarity, inclusivity and empathy towards each other. So, which is why these are the values I feel that we should always strive for.”

The FTII alumna also thanked her producers, crew members and partners for the film. She also gave a shout-out to the festival workers who had protested at the opening night gala, demanding better wages and acknowledgement.

Bollywood celebs celebrate All We Imagine as Light

Aditi Rao Hydari shared a lengthy post congratulating the makers of All We Imagine as Light. She wrote, “At a very perplexing time in history where only the noise from my incredible county seems to get amplified, here is an independent film by a first-time director that wins the Grand Prix honour at @festivaldecannes. Please take a moment and let us all stand and applaud this monumental achievement. This is the crowning glory of the fight for good Cinema in India. It may happen again, but not without the impact of #Payalkapadia’s spectacular achievement. So proud, so grateful. My love and congratulations to the entire team! India in all Her glory, and on Her own terms… What a moment!”

Aditi’s Heeramandi co-star, Richa Chadha also congratulated the team. She wrote on X, “HISTORIC!!! Just beaming at this news! Congratulations Payal Kapadia, Ranabir Das, Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, Hridhu Haroon, Chhaya Kadam and the whole team of ALL WE IMAGINE AS LIGHT! Just overjoyed! Independent filmmaking at any point of time is hard, but now is actively scuttled, and then to win a GRAND PRIX! Ooof. Just thrilled.”

Taking to her Instagram Stories, Kiara Advani shared a post by Festival de Cannes. She captioned it, “Congratulations (trophy and red heart emojis).” Bhumi Pednekar shared MAMI Mumbai Film Festival’s post on her Instagram Stories and wrote, “Bravo (clapping hands emoji).”  Radhika Apte celebrated the film and its team by writing on her Stories, “Huge congratulations to the beautiful and incredible people behind this film!! This is just perfect.” 

Actors celebrate Payal Kapadia’s film

Ali Fazal also took to the micro-blogging site and wrote, “OH MANNNNNNNNNN, its happened !!! YASSSSSS.” He also retweeted several posts congratulating the film and the team. Saba Azad shared a post by Brut and also penned a long note. She wrote, “Fund good cinema!! Support independent filmmakers, support actors who give themselves wholly to the craft and aren’t just in it for the frills- put your money behind talent!! And real talent may not mean the most famous or most familiar!! There is a kind of Indian cinema that deserves our attention and support, and it’s shining the world over!! Let’s give it the respect it deserves, back home too (red heart emojis).” 

Actress Soni Razdan reposted Festival de Cannes’s Instagram post and wrote, “OMG. This is incredible! Huge congratulations, Payal Kapadia and team (clapping hands emojis).” Mini Mathur posted a clip on her Instagram Stories from the event as Payal won the award. She captioned it, “The Grand prix!! After 30 Indian film competes for the highest honour at @cannes_filmfestival!! A first win for a female director. And it took #PayalKapadia and three incredible women actors to tell this story #allweimagineaslight.”

Filmmakers congratulate the makers

Filmmaker Tovino Thomas wrote on Instagram, “Wow!! what an incredible achievement for Indian cinema! ‘All We Imagine As Light’ scripts history, becomes first Indian film to win Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival. Take a bow!!” Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur tweeted, “Payal Kapadia’s ‘ll we imagine is light won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival! .. what an honour for her and her team. It seems to be India’s year at Cannes. This is the 3rd, but the biggest award to Indian Cinema this year. (sic)”

Heeramandi co-director, Mitakshara Kumar wrote on Instagram Stories, “Wow!!! Wow!!! Wowww!! Payal Kapadia , you beauty! Grand Prix Winner at Cannes…. The first Indian film to do so! (fire emojis). ” Anurag Kashyap shared a screenshot of the announcement and wrote on Instagram, “Congratulations Payal Kapadia .. you’re the hope and the inspiration ..” Film director Sujoy Ghosh said in a tweet, “YEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!! Well done payal and zico … so so so so proud of you…”

About All We Imagine as Light

The Payal Kapadia directorial is a Malayalam-Hindi feature about two nurses. The story centres on Prabha – a nurse who receives an unexpected gift from her long-estranged husband that throws her life into disarray, and her younger roommate, Anu – who tries in vain to find a private spot in the big city to be alone with her boyfriend. One day, the two nurses go on a road trip to a beach town, where the mystical forest becomes a space for their dreams to manifest. 

The film is co-produced by Petit Chaos from France and Chalk and Cheese Films from India.

Also Read: Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine As Light wins the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival

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