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Cannes 2024: Indian Actress Anasuya Sengupta Shines, First Indian To Win Best Actress Award

Anasuya Sengupta made history on Friday night by becoming the first Indian to win a top acting award at the Cannes Film Festival. The relatively unknown actress, primarily known for her work as a production designer in Mumbai and residing in Goa.

Edited By : News24 Desk | Updated: May 25, 2024 11:15 IST
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Anasuya Sengupta Claims First Indian Win at Cannes
Anasuya Sengupta Claims First Indian Win at Cannes

In a historic moment for Indian cinema, Anasuya Sengupta became the first Indian to win the prestigious Best Actress award at the Cannes film festival. The accolade was bestowed upon her for her powerful performance in Bulgarian director Constantin Bojanov’s film, ‘The Shameless,’ in the Un Certain Regard segment of the festival.

Sengupta, who has primarily worked as a production designer in Mumbai and resides in Goa, was relatively unknown in the acting world until this remarkable achievement. Her portrayal of Renuka, a vagabond seeking refuge in a northern Indian community of sex workers, captivated the Cannes jury and audience alike.

‘The Shameless,’ also featuring renowned actress Mita Vashist, was filmed over a month and a half in India and Nepal. The film’s narrative revolves around Renuka’s tumultuous journey after fleeing Delhi, where she faces charges of murder.

Renuka’s story intertwines with that of Devika, played by Omara Shetty, a teenager initially shielded from sex work due to her physical ailments but ultimately drawn into the harsh realities of the community.

Constantin Bojanov, an award-winning director and a Facebook friend of Sengupta, initiated her acting career by unexpectedly requesting an audition tape from her. This marked the beginning of the Jadavpur University graduate’s transition from production design to acting.

Sengupta’s prior credits include working as the production designer for Srijit Mukherjee’s ‘Forget Me Not’ in Netflix’s 2021 Satyajit Ray anthology and the popular series ‘Masaba Masaba.’ Her sudden rise to international acclaim underscores her versatile talent and dedication to her craft.

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Accepting the award, a visibly emotional Sengupta dedicated her win to marginalized communities, particularly the queer community. ‘This is for the queer community and other marginalized communities for so bravely fighting a fight they really shouldn’t have to,’ she said, her voice was shaking with emotion. Her heartfelt speech drew repeated cheers and applause from the audience.

She concluded her acceptance speech with a powerful statement: We don’t need to be colonized to know how very, very pathetic colonizers are. This poignant remark resonated deeply, highlighting the ongoing struggles against oppression and the importance of authentic representation in cinema.

Anasuya Sengupta’s historic win at Cannes not only marks a significant milestone for Indian actors on the global stage but also brings attention to crucial social issues through her compelling performance in ‘The Shameless.’ Her journey from a production designer to a celebrated actress is an inspiration, demonstrating the transformative power of cinema and the importance of diverse storytelling.

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First published on: May 25, 2024 11:15 AM IST

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