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Anasuya Sengupta becomes the first Indian to Win the Top Acting Award at Cannes – GetBengal story

27 May, 2024 10:40:28
Anasuya Sengupta becomes the first Indian to Win the Top Acting Award at Cannes – GetBengal story

The Cannes --- Film de Cannes is considered to be the biggest film festivals of the world and when a Bengali girl, raised in Kolkata, educated at Jadavpur University, bags a prestigious award at Cannes this year, then one realizes how creative juices still flow in the Bengali blood. From Satyajit Ray, to Mrinal Sen to so many more, movie and acting seem to be in our blood and sinew and it is always a bonus to see even the younger generation taking passionately to art and films. Anasuya Sengupta made headlines after she became the first Indian to grab the top acting award at the Cannes Film Festival this year. What was the award? She bagged the best actress award for her role in the film ‘The Shameless’ directed by Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov. The same film also stars actress Mita Vashist, know for her roles in ‘art films’ and who has worked in many television shows in India too.

Anasuya Sengupta took home the Best Actress award at the Un Certain Regard segment of the festival. As an actress she is little known, infact she doesn’t even portray herself as one. Rather she is into the profession of production designing. The little-known actress has worked mainly as a production designer in Mumbai and now lives in Goa. Winning the Best Actress award at the Un Certain Regard segment of the festival brings her to the limelight as an actress though. Sengupta won the award for her gritty role in Bulgarian director Constantin Bojanov's film, The Shameless. The film was shot over a month and half in India and Nepal.

After receiving the award Anasuya said she wants to dedicate the award to the queer community and other marginalised communities for so bravely fighting a fight they really shouldn’t have to. Rather they are forced to fight to challenge the society that has been constantly shunning them.  The actress ended her short acceptance speech by saying, “We don’t need to be colonised to know how very, very pathetic colonisers are.”

Constantin Bojanov is an award-winning director and was incidentally on Anasuya's Facebook. He was a facebook friend when one day he caught her by surprise. And how? Out of the blue he asked her to send an audition tape. That was the start of the Jadavpur University graduate's acting career. He wanted her to play a role in his upcoming film. Anasuya could not believe her luck back then, for she had never thought of such a role. She was happy with production designing in Bollywood and by then had already carved a niche for herself. The movie received a lot of praise from the viewers.

The previous credits of the Kolkata-born debutante actress include being the production designer of Srijit Mukherjee's Forget Me Not that was show in Netflix's 2021 list, as a designer for Satyajit Ray anthology and also in designer Masaba Gupta’s Masaba Masaba. In this film, she plays Renuka, a vagabond seeking refuge in a north Indian community of sex workers after fleeing from Delhi on being charged with murder. The role was extremely challenging as the story had a pace and depicted a real life trauma of a girl who flees from every devil of the society. It was not easy to portray. The film's story centres around Renuka's illicit love affair with a teenager named Devika, played by Omara Shetty, who's initially sheltered from entering sex work because of her physical ailments, but not for long.

Receiving the award, Anasuya quite predictably dedicated the award to ‘the queer community and other marginalised communities for so bravely fighting a fight they really shouldn't have to.’ When one saw her Cannes award clip, one realized how her voice was shaking with emotion, and drawing repeated cheers and applause, she ended her short acceptance speech. Anasuya studied from Jadavpur University and holds a degree in English Literature. In her initial years she wanted to discover herself through journalism. However, life had other plans. Anasuya, who starred in a supporting role for Anjan Dutta’s 2009 film Madly Bangalee, dabbled in theatre for some time before shifting to Mumbai in 2013. There, she started working as a production designer. As a production designer in Mumbai, the projects she holds the closest to her heart include Sanjeev Sharma’s Saat Uchakkey (2016), starring the likes of Manoj Bajpayee and Anupam Kher, and Srijit Mukherji’s Forget Me Not, starring Ali Fazal as part of the Netflix anthology Ray (2021).

Although it seemed like all was going well for Anasuya, there was a time when she felt lost and claustrophobic. All through her years in Mumbai, although connected to the world of art in some form or the other, a part of her felt lost, claustrophobic, almost devoid of free expression. That’s when she decided to shift to Goa with her father’s help. As she told in an earlier interview: “I was unaware of how financially sustainable the decision was or where my career curve would meander. However, amidst the chaos, it was my father who held my hand and asked, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ and that sealed the deal.” 

In Goa she met the love of her life Yashdeep. Talking about her first meeting with her now husband, Anasuya, who is also an artist, in an Instagram post shared, “Soon after we started dating, somebody asked us, ‘how did you meet?’, ‘We met at home’, was Yd’s prompt reply. It sounded hilarious at the time, but we decided eventually it’s what describes us best. We first started talking online. He loved my art and wanted to get a copy of my calendar. I snooped a bit and found that he’s a DNB Dj.”
Anasuya shares several common connections with her husband through her art and his music. He is a naval officer and she a set designer and they have a happy life together. We are happy for Anasuya for making India proud. 

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