India's entry to Oscars is always riddled with controversy and this year is no different
When Gyan Correa's debut film 'The Good Road' left behind films like 'The Lunchbox', 'Ship of Theseus' 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' and 'English Vinglish', not everyone was cheering and most let their displeasure known through the social networking sites. Karan Johar who presented 'The Lunchbox' was quick to post on twitter 'Really shocked and dissapointed....#LUNCHBOX had every factor working in its favour...we may have just lost our golden chance....SAD!!!'. Soon to follow suit was Anurag Kashyap who posted "Feeling very, very disappointed, can't comment on the film I have not seen, but it better make it to final five... I hope and pray I am wrong and it actually is a film that knocks the socks off everyone," and followed it up with, "I don't know who the federation is. But it goes to show, why we completely lack the understanding to make films that can travel across borders."
Soon, more tweets followed from eminent film personalities like Pritish Nandy who wrote I've no idea how good the Gujarati film is, the one chosen for the Oscars. But I am sad #TheLunchbox missed out. It was ready with the buzz.' Some like Javed Akhtar even went ahead proclaiming 'Lunch box is one of this finest films Indian has ever produced. If sent undoubtedly it will bring an Oscar for the country.'
The pressure for the inexplicably secret team of 16 selectors at the federation was tremendous and despite the huge backing for Ritesh Batra’s equally assured debut, the committee stuck to its grounds and chose Correa's film. Gautam Ghose, the chairman, admitted that he personally loved 'The Lunchbox' but sent 'The Good Road' because the latter shows an "India that you don't see very often in films. The many Indians within the spectrum of one film is what fascinated the jury," he pointed out. The biggest complaint against the committee has been its affinity towards the Hindi film industry. The jury had earlier recommended that movies that win the Best Film award should be sent from India to compete in the Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards.
What came out in the whole ruckus is how divided our film industry is and how these eminent personalities, who have in then past, burnt their hands in the same fire ('My Name Is Khan' for Karan Johar and 'Black Friday' for Anurag Kashyap) don't mind running down another film, just because their own didn't make it. Is it necessary to denounce a film that most people have not seen and negate its merits even before the race has started. After the media backlash, better sense prevailed and Anurag Kashyap has deleted his account. Hope others follow suit.
Meanwhile, the woes for 'The Good Road' is far from over and unless it gets an American distributor anytime soon, it will be difficult to convince the time-strapped jurors about the film's merits. Let's hope for a less bumpy ride for the film.