Before Deepika, Here Are 8 Indian Celebs Who Served as Jury Members at Cannes

From Vidya Balan to Aishwarya Rai, these Indian celebrities were part of the Cannes Film Festival Jury.

4 min read
Before Deepika, Here Are 8 Indian Celebs Who Served as Jury Members at Cannes
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The Cannes Film Festival is an esteemed event held annually. It showcases films across genres, including documentaries, from across the globe. Some of the year's best films have their world premieres at Cannes.

Every year, a jury selects the film that will receive the festival's highest honour, the Palme d'Or. Members of the 'Feature Films' jury are chosen from all over the world.

This year, Deepika Padukone is one of the jury members at Cannes. She will be entering the list of Indian celebrities who have been part of the jury.

Let's take a look at some other Indian celebrities who have served as jury members at the Cannes over the years.


1.Mrinal Sen

Legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen was the first Indian to serve on the Cannes jury panel. Sen  was a nominated member of the Indian parliament and one of the nation's most politically engaged filmmaker.

Sen worked as a freelance journalist, patent medicine salesman and sound technician at a film studio. He studied Physics at the Calcutta University. In the mid-1940s, he joined the Indian People's Theatre Association and began to read and study films. He served as a jury member in 1982. Kharij won the festival's Jury Prize in 1983. Ekdin Pratidin, Kharij, Khandhar, and Genesis are four of his films that have been screened at the festival.


2.Mira Nair

Filmmaker and producer Mira Nair received the Audience Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her critically-acclaimed film Salaam Bombay! She was also among the Cannes Film Festival's list of awardees in the Golden Camera Category (Best First Film) for the same film. She served as a jury member in 1990.

An Indian-American filmmaker based in New York, most of the films Mira has worked on till date are based on Indian themes and aimed at an international audience. Mirabai Films, her production company, specialises in films for the international audiences about the Indian society.


3. Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy, a social activist and Booker Prize winner, has campaigned against India's 165 dams. Her award-winning book, The God of Small Things, was translated to 40 languages and sold millions of copies around the world, bringing her international recognition.

The author was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. The author has written nearly 20 non-fiction books in addition to her fiction novels.


4. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Most people are unaware that Aishwarya was once a member of the Cannes Jury. In 2003, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan became the first female actor from India to attend Cannes.

She has remained the one Indian who has consistently made it to international grounds over the years. She made her festival debut alongside Shekhar Kapur for a special screening of Devdas, the legendary film. In 2003, she made her mark as a jury member.


5. Nandita Das

Nandita Das has worked on more than 30 feature films. She is known for her unique choices and has helmed films that are diametrically opposite from mainstream Bollywood, including Fire. In 2018, Nandita's film Manto received huge appreciation at Cannes.

In 2005, the actor and director served on the jury. She served on the Cinéfondation (a foundation under Cannes that promotes next-generation international filmmakers) and the short film jury in 2013.


6. Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore, like many others, had her film screened at Cannes and then joined the jury. She is one of Indian cinema's most accomplished actors. Sharmila, a two-time National Film Award winner, served on the Cannes Jury in 2009.

Devi, directed by Satyajit Ray and released in 1960, was shown at Cannes in 1962. Sharmila began her career with Ray and has performed some captivating roles in Bengali films.


7. Shekhar Kapur

Shekhar Kapur, an Indian film director, producer, and actor, is known for his work in both Indian and international cinema. Masoom, Mr.India, Bandit Queen, and Elizabeth are some of Kapur's well-known films. In 2010, the filmmaker served on the jury.


8. Vidya Balan

Vidya, who carved out a space for herself in Bollywood by playing women-centric roles at a time when women were underrepresented in mainstream films, was a jury member at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Since her debut in Hum Paanch in 1995, the actor has given us dozens of memorable performances.

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