Shashi Tharoor urges dropping charges against Cannes winner Payal Kapadia

Shashi Tharoor calls for dropping charges against Cannes winner Payal Kapadia, highlighting her historic achievement amid past protests.

Shashi Tharoor urges dropping charges against Cannes winner Payal Kapadia

Shashi Tharoor and Payal Kapadia

Payal Kapadia has been receiving praise from across the country after making history by winning the coveted Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival. Her film, “All We Imagine as Light,” became the first Indian entry in the festival’s main competition in thirty years. Following her win, it also emerged that Kapadia faces legal action due to her participation in the 2015 protest by FTII students against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as president of the institution.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Kapadia on X, stating, “India is proud of Payal Kapadia for her historic feat of winning the Grand Prix at the 77th Cannes Film Festival for her work ‘All We Imagine as Light’.” He added, “An alumnus of FTII, her remarkable talent continues to shine on the global stage, giving a glimpse of the rich creativity in India. This prestigious accolade not only honors her exceptional skills but also inspires a new generation of Indian filmmakers.”

Following the Prime Minister’s post, Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor responded by questioning if India is proud of Kapadia, shouldn’t the case against her and fellow FTII students be withdrawn for their protest against the “arbitrary appointment of an unqualified chairman?”

Tharoor’s comment comes amid reminders from netizens and film industry stars of FTII’s actions against Kapadia as the institute went on to congratulate her on her historic win.

In an interview with Times Now, Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment Kapadia and her fellow students protested, shared his thoughts on her win, saying, “I would just like to say, we are all very proud of her. I’d like to congratulate her for her achievement.”

When asked about Kapadia’s opposition to his appointment and the legal action against her, Chauhan replied, “Let me tell you, there is a vast difference between being talented and being disciplined. Talent is all very fine, but being disciplined is also very important… I don’t remember correctly if her name was on the chargesheet. But a large group of students had held and confined, actually hijacked, the then-FTII director Prashant Pathrabe. He was diabetic and was held against his will for 12-14 hours.”

Payal Kapadia, a former FTII student, was part of the 139-day long protest along with 34 other students. As part of the agitation, the students boycotted classes and other academic activities. Their next hearing is in Pune’s Session Court on June 26.