Powered by

Home Profile

Story of Payal Kapadia FTII student who won Cannes Prix award

Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia made history at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival by winning the Grand Prix for "All We Imagine as Light," the first Indian film in competition at Cannes in 30 years. Kapadia is known for her acclaimed documentary

By Ground report
New Update
Story of Payal Kapadia FTII student who won Cannes Prix award

Photo credit: X

Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia made history at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival by winning the Grand Prix award for her film "All We Imagine as Light." This marked two significant milestones: the first Indian movie to compete at Cannes in 30 years, and Payal became the first Indian director to win the Grand Prix.

"All We Imagine as Light," written and directed by Payal Kapadia, tells the story of two Malayali nurses living in Mumbai. Kapadia, who previously won the best documentary award for her film "A Night of Knowing Nothing" at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, became emotional while receiving the award for her latest film. Accompanied by her three main actors—Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, and Chhaya Kadam—Kapadia pulled the women closer, saying they had given so much and made the film their own.

Kani Kusruti, who had earlier made headlines by carrying a watermelon-shaped bag in solidarity with the Palestinian cause at the festival, was in tears on stage.

"Please don’t wait 30 years to have another Indian film [in the competition here]," Payal said with a smile, thanking her producers and the entire crew. She described the film as focusing on the friendship between three very different women, adding, "Oftentimes women are pitted against each other, and this is the way society is designed, which is really unfortunate. For me, it is a really important relationship because it can lead to greater solidarity, inclusivity, and empathy towards each other. These are values that I feel we should always stand for."

Who is Payal Kapadia?

Payal Kapadia, an alumna of the renowned Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), gained recognition for her 2021 film "A Night of Knowing Nothing," which won the Best Documentary award at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

Kapadia's journey has been remarkable, with her making headlines beyond her filmmaking. As a student at FTII in 2015, she faced disciplinary action for leading a four-month protest against the appointment of TV personality-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan as the institution's chairman.

In the same year, an FIR was filed against Kapadia and other students for holding a director hostage in protest against incomplete projects from the 2008 batch. The Pune Police charged 35 students in connection with the incident.

Despite her controversial past, FTII supported Kapadia in 2017 when her short film "Afternoon Clouds" was selected for Cannes. The then-director, Bhupendra Kainthola, stated that their decision was based on observing Kapadia's disciplined conduct on campus after the protests.

2024 Cannes Film Festival

At the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, Payal Kapadia accepted the Grand Prix award with the actors from "All We Imagine as Light" – Chhaya Kadam, Divya Prabha, and Kani Kusruti. In her speech, she urged Cannes not to wait another 30 years to showcase an Indian film.

The festival's closing ceremony, hosted by French actor Camille Cottin, saw Jacques Audiard winning the Jury Prize for "Emilia Perez," which also secured Best Actress honors for Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldaña, Karla Sofía Gascón, and Selena Gomez. Jesse Plemons was awarded Best Actor for his roles in Yorgos Lanthimos' "Kinds of Kindness," while Portuguese director Miguel Gomes took home Best Director for "Grand Tour."

The Best Screenplay award went to French director-writer Claire Denis for "The Substance," featuring Demi Moore. Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof received a Special Award for Best Screenplay for "The Seed of the Sacred Fig," despite his recent flight from Iran under threat of an eight-year prison sentence. The Camera d'Or for best directorial debut was awarded to Halfdan Ullman Tondel, grandson of Ingmar Bergman, for "Armand."

This year's main competition jury was chaired by filmmaker Greta Gerwig and included notable figures such as Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, Turkish actor-screenwriter Ebru Ceylan, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, American actor Lily Gladstone, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, Lebanese actor-director Nadine Labaki, and French actors Eva Green and Omar Sy.

Historically, Indian films selected for the Cannes Competition segment include Mrinal Sen's "Kharij" (1983), M S Sathyu's "Garm Hava" (1974), Satyajit Ray's "Parash Pathar" (1958), Raj Kapoor's "Awaara" (1953), V Shantaram's "Amar Bhoopali" (1952), and Chetan Anand's "Neecha Nagar" (1946).