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India’s race to the Oscars

There’s no denying that cinema, especially Hindi cinema, has a tremendous influence on contemporary Indian culture. Bollywood is arguably one of India’s most well-known brands globally and even then, no Indian film has ever won an Oscar. Whatever your opinion of the Academy Awards, if you care about film, you can’t just dismiss them. The last Indian film that made it to the final five in the Best International Feature category was Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan in 2001.

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A lot of people argue that India sending mainstream Bollywood movies to Oscars is the reason we never win but it’s not at all important to send only art movies. Joker was one of the most mainstream movies of 2019 and that to with highest number of nominations.

There was a lot of backlash when Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, was sent as India’s official entry to the 92nd Academy Awards and not the more-deserving Article 15, Tumbaad or Hellaro. The problem is not that we send mainstream movies but that it was not the best film we made in 2019. There were more deserving movies and that too with original scripts. India has a long history of sending unoriginal films to the Oscars and not making the cut.

A lot of us feel that we keep sending the wrong film to the Oscars. There are some sensational contenders in regional cinema and looks like we did send a better movie this year.

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Malayalam film ‘Jallikattu’ was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars 2021. Jallikattu, winner of several awards at film festivals across the country was picked from a list of 27 films that included Chhapaak, The Disciple, Shakumtala Devi, Chhalaang, Gulabo Sitabo, The Sky Is Pink and Eeb Allay Ooo!

The movie is the reaction of the society against a perceived threat that gets out of hand. It is one of the movies which will leave the viewers spellbound. It gores its way into the brain and rips right through pre-conceived notions of what constitutes cinema.

India has had little luck with the Oscar entries for the last few years – Gully Boy, Village Rockstars, Newton, Visaranani and previous entries have all failed to make the Oscar shortlist.  As soon as Jallikattu was announced as India’s official entry for Oscars 2021, hope resurfaced, once again, and while we were all hopeful that Jallikattu would make the cut this year in the Best International Feature category at the 93rd Academy Awards, it is already out of the Oscar race.

The Malayalam-language movie is not part of the shortlist of 15 features that will be vying for a spot in the final five, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced on Wednesday.

With “Jallikattu” exiting the foreign film race, India has once again drawn a blank in the category, nonetheless, Karishma Dev Dube-directed “Bittu” has made it to the Best Live Action Short Film shortlist for the Oscars.

Well, we all know “BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME”

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