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Payal Kapadia Becomes the First Indian Filmmaker to Win Grand Prix at 77th Cannes Film Festival for ‘All We Imagine As Light’

Filmmaker Payal Kapadia made history by becoming the first Indian to win the Grand Prix at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, the second highest honour after the Palme d’Or. Her film, “All We Imagine As Light,” tells the story of two Malayali nurses in Mumbai, exploring themes of life, love, and sisterhood. This marks the first time in thirty years that an Indian film has competed in Cannes’ main competition.

In her acceptance speech, Kapadia expressed her disbelief and urged the jury not to wait another 30 years for an Indian film. The win has been celebrated across India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other prominent figures congratulating her on social media. Modi praised Kapadia’s talent and said her achievement showcases India’s rich creativity and inspires future filmmakers.

Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress and Anasuya Sengupta, who won Best Actress in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, also lauded Kapadia. Screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala noted the win’s significance for women and independent filmmakers in India.

The film received an eight-minute standing ovation at its premiere. It features a bold depiction of a romance between the main character Prabha (Kani Kusruti) and her Muslim boyfriend (Hridhu Haroon), highlighting religious tensions in India.

India, the world’s largest film producer, still struggles for international recognition and major awards. Recent successes include the Telugu-language film “RRR” winning an Oscar for Best Original Song, and “The Elephant Whisperers” winning Best Documentary Short. Kapadia’s previous win at Cannes was in 2021 for her documentary “A Night of Knowing Nothing.”

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