Cannes (UNI) Kolkata-based cinematographer Modhura Palit, a recent graduate of the city’s Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), has won a top cinematography award at the 72nd Cannes film festival.
Palit received the Pierre Angenieux Special Encouragement Award instituted by the French lens manufacturing giant Angenieux to recognise excellence in cinematography.
Founded seven years ago, the Pierre Angenieux award this year honoured Bruno Delbonnel, the Oscar-nominated French director of photography of such films as ‘Amelie’, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, and ‘Darkest Hour’, and Palit at a ceremony held last evening.
Among those present at the awards ceremony were Cannes festival’s general delegate Thierry Fremaux, actor Christoph Waltz and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed ‘Amelie’.
"We need more feminine power in the film industry," said Palit in her acceptance speech. "Women need to break through stereotypes and traditions and fight it out. The kohl (kajal) that we put in our eyes is war paint," she said.
In an inspiring speech, Palit said she was proud to represent India in Cannes. "It is like being in a fairy tale and living it. The award also means the little girls in India can believe that their own fairy tales would come true," she added.
"There is no gender to a work. I hope in the future we will be spoken about as cinematographers for their craft. Not as men or women," she added.
Palit received the award from Indian director-cinematographer Rajiv Menon, the director of photography for Mani Ratnam’s ‘Bombay’, and ‘Call Me By Your Name’ actor Amira Casar. Palit will receive an Angenieux cinema lens on loan for her next project as the prize. The Special Encouragement Award to a young cinematographer was instituted only last year with the first award going to Chinese director of photography Cecile Zhang.
"This award will give more power to women in India," said Menon, who directed the award-winning Tamil film, ‘Kandukondain, Kandukondain’.
Cinematographers from around the world present at the awards ceremony paid tributes to Delbonnel and Palit. "We all know cinematography is team work," said Delbonnel, who received the Angenieux company’s new Optimo Ultra 12x camera lens, which was launched on Friday.
"It is great to have a partnership with Angenieux for cinematography at the Cannes festival," said Fremaux. "Directors of Photography will have a greater influence in the match between the big and small screens in the future," he added.