Aparna Sen’s The Rapist, produced by Applause Entertainment, in association with Quest films, has won the prestigious Kim Jiseok Award at the 26th Busan International Film Festival 2021.

The film had its World Premiere at BIFF 2021 in the ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ section and was one of seven films nominated. In a fiercely competitive year for the award, this win comes as a major triumph for the makers of the film.

The Rapist deals with the complex themes of crime, punishment and restorative justice through the prism of class dynamics. It chronicles the journey of three protagonists and how their lives get entwined because of one horrific incident. The film is an unflinching, uncompromising portrait of sexual violence, its aftermath, and the socio-psychological fallout for both the survivors and perpetrators of the crime.

Marking the reunion of the prolific mother-daughter duo of Aparna Sen and Konkona Sen Sharma, The Rapist also boasts of splendid actors like Arjun Rampal and Tanmay Dhanania in key roles. The Rapist received rave reviews at the festival with several critics calling it one of Aparna Sen’s finest works. The film also marks Applause Entertainment’s feature film debut, and this prestigious honour at Busan signals a fine start at the movies for the studio.

Eminent director-actor-writer Aparna Sen, elated after the win, said “I feel deeply humbled, grateful and overwhelmed as I accept this prestigious Kim Jiseok award. I would like to thank everyone at Busan IFF, the jury, the organisers and of course, the audience for conferring this honour upon me. This award has a special significance for me because I was in Busan as a jury member many years ago and I had the honour of meeting Mr. Kim in person. I was aware of Mr. Kim’s tireless, lifelong effort to promote Asian cinema throughout the worId. I take this opportunity to thank my producers, Applause Entertainment and Quest Films who put their might behind me and supported me all the way. And of course, my very talented cast and crew who helped me make my vision a reality.”

Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause Entertainment said, “We are jubilant to learn that our first feature film, directed by the incredible Aparna Sen, has received this distinguished honour. To be nominated amongst such a fine list of films was a privilege, and this win reaffirms the faith we had in Aparna’s story since we first heard it. We’re happy to have partnered with Quest Films and are hopeful that the esteemed Kim Jiseok award at Busan will help take The Rapist to a wider, global audience.”

Suchhanda Chatterjee and Shubha Shetty of Quest Films Pvt. Ltd. say “ We feel thrilled and honoured at being part of a film of this kind. With the kind of story it has and knowing the passion with which Aparna Sen works, this will be a film that will be remembered for a long time. Winning the prestigious Kim Jiseok award just makes us believe it all the more. We are thankful to Applause for backing our dream project.”

Widely acknowledged as the largest film festival in Asia, the Busan International Film Festival was held from 6th – 15th October this year.

Ms. Aparna Sen – A Short Biography

Aparna Sen is one of India’s most celebrated writer-directors. She is the daughter of the renowned film historian, critic and filmmaker Chidananda Dasgupta.

Her directorial debut in the year 1981 was an English film, 36 Chowringhee Lane, which was also written by her. The film won the Golden Eagle – the Grand Prix – at the Manila International Film Festival and the Golden Lotus for best Direction at the National Awards in India. Her directorial work includes memorable films like Sati, Paroma, Picnic, Yugant, Paromitaar Ek Din, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, The Japanese Wife and Ghawre Bairey Aaj.

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, which stars her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose, won several national and international awards and has been showcased in innumerable film festivals all over the world.

Retrospectives of Aparna’s films have been held in London, Munich and at Nandan in Kolkata.

Aparna is also one of India’s finest actors. The celebrated Satayjit Ray introduced her in his film Samapti. She has since acted in several films and won several awards and accolades.

She has served on juries at many international film festivals, such as the International Film Festival of India, the Moscow International Film Festival, The Hawaii International Film Festival the Cairo International Film Festival and the Marrakesh International Film Festival.

She was the founder-editor of Sananda, a major Bengali magazine published by the ABP group.

Aparna has been honored with some of India’s most prestigious awards, including the Padmashree Award for Contribution to Cinema by the President of India and the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award.

In recent years, she has he has made several films – Arshinagar, which is a musical adaptation in Bengali of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Saari Raat, which is a film version in Hindi of Badal Sarkar’s play Saara Rattir, Sonata, a chamber piece based on Mahesh Elkunchwar’s celebrated play of the same name. Her last film was Ghawre Bairey Aaj (Home and the World Today) inspired by Tagore’s famous novel Ghawre Bairey (Home and the World). However, as the name suggests, Aparna’s film is set against the political backdrop of present-day India while Tagore’s novel was set against the freedom struggle of India before Independence.