Cannes 2024: Anasuya Sengupta wins Un Certain Regard best actress trophy, creates history

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: Anasuya Sengupta attends ‘The Shameless’ Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2024 in Cannes, France.

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 17: Anasuya Sengupta attends ‘The Shameless’ Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2024 in Cannes, France.
| Photo Credit: ANDREAS RENTZ

Anasuya Sengupta, one of the lead stars of Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov’s Hindi-language movie The Shameless, has created history by bagging the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

Sengupta, who hails from Kolkata, is the first Indian artiste to win the category’s top acting honour, marking a significant milestone for India at the prestigious film gala. The festival will conclude on Saturday.

In her acceptance speech on Friday night, Sengupta dedicated the award to “to the queer community and other marginalised communities” for bravely fighting for their rights all around the world.

“You don’t have to be queer to fight for equality, you don’t have to be colonised to know that colonising is pathetic — we just need to be very, very decent human beings,” the actor said.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 24: Boris Lojkine, Abou Sangare, Louise Courvoisier, Tawfik Alzaidi, Vicky Krieps,  Todd McCarthy, Xavier Dolan, Maïmouna Doucouré, Asmae El Moudir, Guan Hu, Liang Jing, Eddie Li, Anasuya Sengupta, Abdullah Al-Sadhan, Roberto Minervini, Maria Bahrawi and Bandar Alabdulsalam pose onstage during the Un Certain Regard closing ceremony at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 24, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 24: Boris Lojkine, Abou Sangare, Louise Courvoisier, Tawfik Alzaidi, Vicky Krieps, Todd McCarthy, Xavier Dolan, Maïmouna Doucouré, Asmae El Moudir, Guan Hu, Liang Jing, Eddie Li, Anasuya Sengupta, Abdullah Al-Sadhan, Roberto Minervini, Maria Bahrawi and Bandar Alabdulsalam pose onstage during the Un Certain Regard closing ceremony at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 24, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
| Photo Credit:
CINDY ORD

The Shameless, which had its premiere at Cannes on May 17, forays into a dark, disturbing world of exploitation and misery in which two sex workers, one who bears the scars of her line of work, the other a young girl days away from ritual initiation, forge a bond and seek to throw off their shackles. Sengupta plays the central character of Renuka, who escapes from a Delhi brothel after stabbing a policeman to death and takes refuge in a community of sex workers in northern India, where she meets Devika (Omara), a young girl condemned to a life of prostitution.

The Shameless also stars Mita Vashisht, Tanmay Dhanania, Rohit Kokate and Auroshikha Dey in key roles.

British-Indian filmmaker Sandhya Suri’s Santosh was also part of the Un Certain Regard but didn’t win any award.

The Un Certain Regard, which runs parallel to the festival’s main competition, aims to highlight new trends, new paths and new countries of cinema.

The top prize of the segment went to Black Dog by Chinese filmmaker Gou Zhen, while French director Boris Lojkine’s “L’Histoire de Souleymane” bagged the Jury Prize.

Abou Sangre of L’Histoire de Souleymane won the best actor trophy for his performance in the movie.

The best director trophy was shared by Roberto Minervini of The Damned and Rungano Nyoni for On Becoming a Guinea Fowl.

Tawfik Alzaidi of Saudi Arabia received a Special Mention for his first feature film “Norah” and the Youth Award went to Louise Courvoisier for her debut movie Holy Cow.

The jury for the Un Certain Regard was chaired by Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan and it also included French-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré, Moroccan director Asmae El Moudir, German-Luxembourg actor Vicky Krieps, and American writer Todd McCarthy.

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