Now Reading
Indian Filmmaker Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine As Light’ Wins Grand Prix at 77th Cannes Film Festival

Indian Filmmaker Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine As Light’ Wins Grand Prix at 77th Cannes Film Festival

  • The Malayalam-Hindi film, about sisterhood in modern Mumbai, follows three nurses in the metropolis.

Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light,” about sisterhood in modern Mumbai, has won the Grand Prix at the closing ceremony of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The award is considered the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d’Or. 

The Malayalam-Hindi film follows the story of Prabha (Kani Kusruti), a nurse, who receives an unexpected gift from her long estranged husband. This causes disruption in her life. Her younger roommate, Anu ((Divya Prabha), 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. 

Kapadia’s debut feature was first Indian film in competition in Cannes in 30 years. The last Indian film to be make it to this coveted section was Shaji N. Karun’s “Swaham” in 1994. “Neecha Nagar,” the 1964 film directed by Chetan Anand.

The screening of the film on May 22, received an eight-minute standing ovation from the audience member. It has also garnered rave  reviews in the international press.

Daughter of a well-known Indian artist Nalini Malani, Kapadia, who “very familiar with Mumbai, told BCC that the city is also “a place where it’s a little bit easier for women to work as compared to many other places in the country.” She told the news network that she “wanted to make a film about women who leave their homes to go to work somewhere else.”

Kani Kusruti

The Guardian in its review describes the film as “glorious,” and an “absorbing story full of humanity.” According to IndieWire, “Kapadia’s drama gives Mumbai a romantic gaze, as reflected in the way “people occupy their space… whether alone or sharing.” 

Variety calls it “a glowing portrait of urban connection and unexpected sisterhood,” whole Deadline says the film is “Kapadia’s poetic meditation on life in urban Mumbai.”

Kapadia is not a stranger to Cannes. Her documentary “A Night of Knowing Nothing” won the Golden Eye for best documentary in 2021.  The film, which premiered under the Director’s Fortnight section, captures the unrest on a campus through letters written by a student to her lover, merging reality with a dream-like state. Her 2017 film, “Afternoon Clouds,” also premiered at Cannes.The 13-minute film, was made when she was a third-year student at FTII.

See Also

The Mumbai-based director and writer studied Film Direction at the Film & Television Institute of India. Her short films “Afternoon Clouds” (2017) and “And What is the Summer Saying” (2018) premiered respectively at the Cinéfondation and the Berlinale. She is a Berlinale Talents alumna and participated in at the Cinéfondation – Résidence du Festival de Cannes in 2019. 

When she was a student at FTII in 2015, she was charged with disciplinary action after she boycotted classes and spearheaded a four-month-long protest against the appointment of television-actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman. As per news reports, FTII had also cut her scholarship following this incident. According to a report in The Print, an FIR was also registered against her for allegedly “holding then director Prashant Pathrabe captive” in his office as students challenged his decision to go ahead with the assessment of incomplete projects of students from the 2008 batch. Later, The Hindustan Times reported that the institute decided to support Kapadia.

Over the last four decades, Indian films have done fairly well on the world festival circuit. Mira Nair’s “Salaam Bombay” won the Camera d’Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, and in 2001, her classic “Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Ritesh Batra’s 2013 celebrated film “The Lunchbox” won the Grand Golden Rail Award at Cannes. And earlier this year director Shuchi Talati’s “Girls Will Be Girls” was awarded the Grand Jury and Audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival.

(Photos: Cannes Facebook)

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top