India’s ‘Masaan’ wins two awards at Cannes, including Un Certain Regard

NEW DELHI: India’s Masaan by Neeraj Ghaywan became a big winner in the Un Certain Regard section of the 68th Cannes International Film Festival by bagging two awards, even as the top award in this category went to Rams, a drama set among farmers and their sheep in a remote Icelandic valley.

Masaan also received the Promising Future Prize, apart from bagging the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award.

Actress Richa Chadha, who features in a key role in the film, said the team feels “blessed.”  “#MasaanAtCannes just got the FIPRESCI award. #blessed. Team, take a bow,” Chadha tweeted.

The film won a five-minute standing ovation post its screening, leaving Chadha and Ghaywan in tears of joy.

Ghaywan’s debut feature project, Masaan is set in Varanasi and follows the stories of four people from a small town and how they fit in to the moralities.

It also features Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra and Vicky Kaushal.

The film is an Indian-French co-production with names like Manish Mundra of Drishyam Films, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathe productions.

“I'm ecstatic to win these two awards for India and the team of Masaan more than myself. This was long overdue. We had a truly global team that was purely driven by passion and utmost honesty, which has gotten us this far. I can't wait to show this film in India,” Ghaywan said.

Ghaywan also thanked filmmaker Anurag Kashyap with whom he had worked as assistant director on Gangs of Wasseypur and second unit director on Ugly.

Jury president Isabella Rossellini said Grimur Hakonarson's film Rams was honoured for “treating in a masterful, tragicomic way the undeniable bond that links all humans to animals.”

Six of the 19 films in the Un Certain Regard competition, which honours new directors and more offbeat films than those up for Cannes' main Palme d'Or prize, won prizes.

The second-place Jury Prize went to Croatian director Dalibor Matanic for Zvizdan (The High Sun), which explores love and ethnic hatred in the Balkans.

The jury bestowed the directing prize on Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Journey to the Shore, and gave the Talent award to Treasure, by Romania's Corneliu Porumboiu, and the Special Jury award to Nahid by Iranian director Ida Panahandeh.

Actress-director Rossellini said serving on the jury had been “like taking a flight over the planet and seeing all its inhabitants and their emotions. I think we are the envy of every anthropologist,” she said. 

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