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Anasuya Sengupta wins Best Actress at Cannes, becomes first Indian actor to win acting honours in un Certain Regard segment

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, says actor who dedicated her win to marginalised communities

Our Web Desk Published 25.05.24, 10:06 AM
Poster of the film 'The Shameless'

Poster of the film 'The Shameless' X / @Namrata_Joshi

Calcutta-born Anasuya Sengupta won Best Actress Award at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival on Friday, becoming the first Indian to win a top acting award at annual film extravaganza.

The actress, who has worked primarily as a production designer in Mumbai and lives in Goa, took home the Best Actress award at the festival's Un Certain Regard segment which runs parallel to the main competition and aims to highlight new trends, new paths and new countries of cinema.


Sengupta's win for her role in Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov's Hindi-language movie, "The Shameless", marks a significant milestone for India at the prestigious film gala.

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, reports PTI from Cannes.

“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.

"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 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.

The festival concludes on Saturday.


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