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Indian Star Kani Kusruti Stands With Palestine: Makes Bold Statement on Cannes Red Carpet

Indian actor Kani Kusruti boldly displayed her solidarity with the victims of the ongoing conflict in Gaza during her appearance on the red carpet for her film “All We Imagine As Light” at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Kusruti, who is one of the two main leads in Payal Kapadia’s highly anticipated film, made a striking statement by accessorizing her outfit with a handbag that took the form of a watermelon slice, a potent symbol of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation.

The watermelon slice handbag was not just a mere fashion choice; it was laden with political symbolism. The colors of the watermelon—red, green, white, and black—coincidentally reflect those of the Palestinian flag. After the six-day war in 1967, Israel banned displays of the Palestinian flag, and in response, Palestinians began using the watermelon as a form of political expression. Kani’s bold accessory choice echoed this historical context and conveyed a strong message of solidarity.

Kusruti’s red carpet moment generated significant attention and broke the internet, with many praising her bravery and forthrightness. At a time when many actors from both India and Hollywood have been reluctant to publicly take sides in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kusruti’s actions were seen as particularly courageous. Her decision to incorporate such a politically charged symbol into her Cannes appearance was widely lauded across social media platforms and in various media outlets.

The film’s red carpet event saw the attendance of several cast and crew members, including Chhaya Kadam, Hridhu Haroon, Kani Kusruti, Payal Kapadia, and Divya Prabha. The significance of Kusruti’s accessory drew almost as much attention as the event itself, with photographers and media outlets eagerly capturing the moment.

Kani’s distinct watermelon pouch was crafted by Kochi-based designer Diya John, who also designed the rest of her stunning outfit: a white bodycon silk dress. John’s boutique, Salt Studio, later shared a behind-the-scenes video detailing the meticulous process of crafting the unique watermelon clutch. This collaboration between Kani and John carried not only artistic significance but also shared a deep-seated message of resistance and solidarity.

Speaking at the press conference for “All We Imagine as Light,” Kani detailed her motivation behind choosing such a symbolic accessory.

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. “I wanted something like that,” she stated, “so I asked my friend Diya who then crafted it by hand.” This candid reveal added another layer to the narrative, emphasizing the intentionality and personal dedication behind the gesture.

Interestingly, Kusruti wasn’t the only star to use the Cannes platform to express support for Palestine. Australian actor and producer Cate Blanchett had previously arranged her red carpet outfit as a tribute to the Palestinian flag. While attending the premiere of “The Apprentice,” Blanchett dazzled in a black gown complemented by a white back and green hemwork. The red carpet itself, paired with her dress, collectively formed the colors of the Palestinian flag, echoing a similar message of solidarity.

Blanchett’s appearance, much like Kusruti’s, sent waves through the media and drew commendations for her thoughtful and bold sartorial choice. Their actions highlighted how the Cannes Film Festival, a global stage, could be used to amplify political messages and raise awareness about crucial international issues.

As for “All We Imagine as Light,” the film itself has garnered immense praise since its premiere. The story, which follows two Malayali nurses living in Mumbai, received an eight-minute standing ovation, underscoring its impact and the emotional resonance it had with its audience. Additionally, it has garnered glowing reviews, further solidifying its status as a remarkable entry in the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival.

It’s noteworthy that “All We Imagine as Light” marks a milestone for Indian cinema. It is the first Indian film in 30 years to compete for the Palme d’Or, the top honor at Cannes, showcasing the global talent and storytelling prowess present in Indian cinema.

Between the powerful narrative of the film and the courageous political statements made on the red carpet, Kani Kusruti and her team have certainly made an indelible mark on this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Their actions and the applause they have garnered shed light on the power of cinema and fashion to act as vessels for significant social and political commentary.