Although no Indian movie made it to the 72nd Cannes Film Festival this year – India’s name echoed at the French Rivera with Kolkata-based cinematographer Modhura Palit becoming the first Indian and the first Indian woman to be chosen for the 2019 Angenieux Special Encouragement at the Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens in the cinematography ceremony.
The prize recently started to encourage young, aspiring cinematographers around the world.
Alumna of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) in Kolkata, Modhura has worked on three feature films, numerous short films, ads, documentaries and TVCs. She is also a member of the Eastern India Cinematographers Association (EICA), and an alumna of the Asian Film Academy (AFA), Busan.
Speaking to First Post, the cinematographer said: “It feels quite unreal, to be honest. It is very difficult for me to fathom the weight of this. It feels like a pat on the back at the end of a good shot. Of all the hardships I have faced and taboos I havebroken, this award gives me a sense of validation. As if this entire struggle was worth it.”
Modhura’s work has earned her numerous accolades. She has to her credit films like Paper Boy which was based on little boys in Kolkata who lived a life devoid of opportunities and zest, The Girl Across The Stream which was made as a part of 2015 China Youth Film Project and Meet Sohee, a Korean film which she made during her time at the Busan International Film Festival.
Explaining her own stance on how the future of women in this field is relevant and where she sees herself within the industry – with all its flaws, Modhura said: “The underlying philosophy that cinematographers should be brawny men, tossing the camera up and down like a football, should change. Women cinematographers are a big culture shock to many. Puritans don’t know how to deal with women directors of photography, especially the idea of being ordered by female heads of departments. The society has gendered our job and associated social parameters to it. Breaking these norms is still an uphill task.”