I'm really excited: Divya Prabha on being part of 'All We Imagine as Light', Indian film that broke Cannes Palme D'Or jinx

Divya Prabha and Kani Kusruthi play the lead characters in the film directed by Payal Kapadia. Photo | Instagram (divya_prabha_)

India has a special reason to cheer at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Apart from the glam and glitter of Bollywood celebrities walking the red carpet, an Indian film has been chosen to compete for the Palme D'Or, the top prize at the prestigious film festival. Malayali actor Divya Prabha who plays one of the lead characters in 'All We Imagine as Light' directed by Payal Kapadia, shares her excitement about being part of the film, that is making history as the first Indian film to be competing for the prize, after a gap of 30 years. The 12-day festival will kick off on Tuesday evening.
Divya said she got a call for the project after she completed the shoot of 'Ariyippu' and Family. "After 'Ariyippu' and 'Family', I received a call from Pranav, who is the Executive Producer of our film. He asked if I was interested in auditioning for a film written by Payal Kapadia, which would be her first feature film. He mentioned that Payal had liked 'Ariyippu',” she said.

Divya Prabha. Photo | Instagram (Jaison Madany)

Divya, who played a glove factory staff in 'Ariyippu', essays the role of a young nurse in 'All We Imagine as Light', alongside Kani Kusruti who plays Prabha. “I was excited from the moment I read the script till the end of the shoot because everything about it was so beautiful and meaningful to me, both personally and professionally. This is the first time I've had so much time to prepare for a role before shooting. The total number of shoot days was around 40, but I have been committed to this film for about eight months, including workshops and rehearsals. Also, the working culture there was awesome. I am so grateful to Payal for the trust she had in me,” she said.

Divya said she had first auditioned for Prabha's role in the film. “After reading the script, I really liked the characters Payal had created. I did the first round of auditions here in Kochi for the character called 'Prabha'. Later, Payal called me, and I went to Mumbai for the second round audition for the same character. It was during this visit that I met Payal for the first time. She came directly to the railway station to pick me up, and I stayed at Payal’s house for a couple of days. After the second round of auditions for Prabha, Payal asked me to play the role of Anu (the younger nurse). However, I was so involved with Prabha that I didn't think I could take on the role of Anu at that moment. Anu was much younger. The role was also completely different. A week later, she called me and said she would like me to audition for Anu. After four rounds of auditions, I got selected. The casting process for this film was very lengthy,” she said.

Divya opened a bit about her character in the film “Anu is very spontaneous, impulsive, and speaks her mind always. She is very instinctive but can also be immature at times. She has a boyfriend. Anu is the kind of person who always wants to explore something new,” she said. “Also, I've never played a role like my character in 'All We Imagine as Light', before. I gained some courage to do this role, but I can't reveal much about it now,” she said.
So, how does it feel to be part of a film that is competing with the greats of world cinema? “It's a wonderful feeling,truly a once in a lifetime experience! It took 30 years for a film from India to compete at Cannes. I'm so excited to be a part of this prestigious festival, where our film is competing along with legendary filmmakers of world cinema. And the Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone is also part of the festival . Everything feels surreal!,” said Divya.

Divya Prabha. Photo | Instagram (Jaison Madany)

“I'm also excited to watch the premiere of our film at Cannes with our team. At this moment, I'm thinking about everyone who worked hard for this film. They are the most incredible and kindest crew I have ever worked with,” she added.
The Cannes Film Festival, is of course, incomplete without the glitz and glamour of the red carpet. Divya is also all prepped up for the event. “I have been told there are two or three important events, including a red carpet event. For all these events, I am collaborating with Indian designers, and two of them are from Kochi. 'All We Imagine As Light', which is an India-French-Dutch co-production also features actors Chhaya Kadam, Hridhu Haroon, Azees Nedumangad and Loveleen Mishra.

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