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Chhaya Kadam Honors Late Mother with Special Sari at Cannes Film Festival

Chhaya Kadam, a celebrated figure in Indian cinema and known for her impactful roles in films like ‘Laapata Ladies’ and ‘Madgaon Express,’ made her debut at the prestigious 2024 Cannes Film Festival. This year, she attended the festival for her Malayalam film ‘All We Imagine As Light,’ directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Payal Kapadia. The film has garnered significant attention as it is the first Indian entry in the main competition category (Palme d’Or) at Cannes in three decades, marking a momentous occasion for Indian cinema on the global stage.

In a heartfelt revelation, Chhaya Kadam shared that she wore her late mother’s sari to the Cannes Film Festival, symbolizing the presence of her mother on this significant journey. In an interview with Brut, a visibly emotional Chhaya explained how wearing the sari felt like taking her mother along with her to Cannes. “Two days before I left for Cannes, I saw the sari and said, ‘I couldn’t take you with me, but I will wear your sari in Cannes,'” Chhaya shared, shedding light on the deep personal significance behind her elegant ensemble at the festival.

The sari was not just any piece of clothing; it was a cherished garment infused with memories and emotions. Taking to Instagram, Chhaya shared photos of her stunning look at the French Riviera, adorned in her mother’s sari and a traditional Maharashtrian nath (nose ring). In a poignant caption written in Marathi, she expressed a long-held dream: “My dream of taking you on a flight remained unfulfilled….but today I am content that I brought your sari and nose ring to the Cannes Film Festival by flight. Still, Mom! I wish you were here today. To see all this. Love you, Mom, and miss you a lot.

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The emotional resonance of wearing her mother’s sari was not lost on Chhaya’s followers and fans, who flooded her post with messages of love and support. The act of wearing the sari was more than a fashion statement; it was a powerful tribute to her mother’s memory and a testament to the enduring bond between them.

‘All We Imagine As Light,’ the film Chhaya was representing at Cannes, delves into complex human emotions and relationships. The movie follows the story of Prabha, a nurse who receives an unexpected gift from her long-estranged husband, which leaves her unsettled. Concurrently, her younger friend and roommate, Anu, is fervently seeking a quiet place to be with her lover. The narrative unfolds as these two women embark on a road trip to a coastal town, creating a sanctuary for their dreams and desires to flourish.

The director of the film, Payal Kapadia, is no stranger to accolades. In 2021, she won the Golden Eye for Best Documentary for her film ‘The Night of Knowing Nothing.’ A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, Kapadia has previously directed several notable films, including ‘Watermelon, Fish and Half Ghost,’ ‘The Last Mango Before the Monsoon,’ and ‘Afternoon Clouds.’ Her distinctive storytelling and cinematic approach continue to captivate audiences and critics alike.

Chhaya Kadam’s participation in the Cannes Film Festival not only highlighted her exceptional talent but also underscored the emotional journey that accompanied her professional achievements. By wearing her late mother’s sari, she transformed an international event into a deeply personal tribute, weaving her mother’s legacy into the fabric of her success.

As the film industry celebrates the inclusion of ‘All We Imagine As Light’ in the Palme d’Or category, Chhaya Kadam’s heartfelt gesture serves as a poignant reminder of the personal stories and emotional connections that often lie beneath the glamour and glitz of the red carpet. Her act of remembrance and love resonated deeply, illustrating how personal history can intertwine with professional milestones in the most touching and profound ways.

The Cannes Film Festival, renowned for its recognition of cinematic excellence, this year witnessed a beautiful confluence of personal memory and artistic achievement, thanks to Chhaya Kadam’s heartfelt tribute to her late mother.