The challenge for India’s entry for the Oscars was very strong this time, because of the brilliant movies that were released in the given time frame. However, the jury committee ignored them all to nominate an average movie ‘Gully Boy’ as India’s official entry to the Oscars, for which they were massively trolled on social media.
Many believed that the chairperson of the jury committee, Aparna Sen, kept her own agenda at the top for the Indian entry to the Oscars, keeping eligibility aside. Also, according to many who criticized the jury committee on social media, there were many excellent films besides ‘Gully Boy’ which should have been nominated for Oscars. Though the list is long in terms of suggestions, but there have been some films which undoubtedly should have been given priority over ‘Gully Boy’ –
1) Andhadhun –
Directed by Shriram Raghavan, this movie starred Ayushman Khurana and Tabu in lead roles. Ayushmann was playing the role of a blind pianist who becomes a witness to a murder due to some unwanted circumstances. Now how does he get himself out of this mess is what forms the crux of the movie. The film has been described as one of the masterpieces of Hindi cinema over the years. Its ending remains the subject of discussion on social media and YouTube even today. Ayushman was also recently awarded the joint National Film Award for Best Actor for the same film.
However, the decision to reject Andhadhun as the Indian entry for the Oscar award for Best Foreign Film also comes as an insult to an excellent film. Similarly, in 2013, ‘The Lunchbox’ was the apple of the eye for both the country and the world, but even then the jury committee of our Film Federation of India did not consider it worthy of the Oscars. Later the same film was nominated for BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Film and missed out on winning the award by a narrow margin.
2) Ratchasan [Ratsasan] –
On the day when Andhadhun released all over the country, Ratchasan [Ratsasan] was also released in Tamil Nadu. Ratsasan literally means demon, and in this film Vishnu Vishal, Amala Paul and Saravanan were in the lead roles. This story is about a police officer who joins the police after his father dies, and who has to investigate a case where several girls suddenly disappear and are later found murdered.
The film, like Andhadhun, was an interesting and compelling film. In our regional cinema these days, a lot of content oriented films are being made, which are fully capable of putting forth their point without offending anyone’s sentiments. But unfortunately, like Andhadhun, Ratsasan was also ignored for the Oscars.
3) Uri – The Surgical Strike –
Ignoring this movie for the Oscars is a clear reflection of how biased was the jury committee appointed by the Film Federation of India. Directed by Aditya Dhar, the film was a fictional retelling based on the Uri terrorist attack in 2016 and the subsequent surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army’s Para Special Forces at terrorist launchpads across the LoC.
Although Bollywood had made a lot of films based on Indo-Pak relations, but Uri was different from them. The film neither had the forced drama, nor the unnecessary filmy sequences. It depicted the valor of the Indian Army without any extra fanfare, and since the Indian Army was glorified in this film, apart from no Modi bashing, it did not please the liberal intelligentsia, and they began tagreting the film even before it was released.
The liberals, who only a year ago, were imparting sermons of tolerance on ‘Padmavat’ had now forgotten their own ideology in bashing ‘Uri’. However, Uri wasn’t only released successfully, but also it won the hearts of all the viewers with its content. A dialogue of the film, ‘How’s the Josh’ [which is often used to inspire the soldiers in the security forces] was echoing across the country for several months.
Considering the popularity of the film, the National Film Awards bestowed the awards for Best Director, Best Actor [Vicky Kaushal for Major Vihaan Singh Shergill], Best Playback Music and Best Music on this movie. Perhaps this was the reason why the jury committee headed by Aparna Sen deliberately did not choose ‘Uri’ as an Indian entry for the Oscars.
4) Kesari –
Rejecting film directed by Anurag Singh for the Oscars is not accepted by many people. The film was based on the battle of Saragarhi, where only 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment bravely fought over 10,000 Afghan tribes, and continued to defend their posts until their last breath.
This was not just a matter of protecting a post, but was like a Dharmyuddh fought for the valor and honor of our country, especially at a time when we were ruled by the British. Even today, numerous military historians of the world considered it one of the fiercest wars in the world in terms of last battle stands. The way Akshay Kumar played the character of Havildar Isher Singh on screen is also an example in itself. But ignoring it, in order to consider ‘Gully Boy’ as a symbol of India, is clearly a bizarre decision. Will our Desi Heroes not impress Hollywood, Aparna Sen?
5) The Tashkent Files –
Many people may frown at the mention of this film, but the fact that the film was not selected for the Oscars highlights the inability of the current jury committee appointed by our Film Federation of India. Looking at the history of the Oscars, we can say without doubt that an investigation drama made about the mysterious death of the second Prime Minister of our country can affect the jury of Oscar to a great extent. Even though if we did not win the award for Best Foreign Film, such a film could have undoubtedly earned a nomination. However too was ignored to send ‘Gully Boy’ for nomination, and personal agenda was kept paramount.
Apart from this, films like ‘Mahanati’, ‘Tumbbad’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ were also released, which could show the image of India in a better way, but by ignoring them for an average film like ‘Gully Boy’, the jury committee appointed by the Film Federation of India has proved that if personal agenda is kept paramount, Indian cinema will never progress.