The magic of Anurag Basu's Barfi! has worked. The heartwarming movie, about love between a deaf and mute boy and an autistic girl, has been chosen as India's official entry for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
The decision was taken at a Film Federation of India (FFI) meeting in Hyderabad Saturday night.
"Barfi! has indeed been chosen as the country's official entry this year," FFI secretary general Suparn Sen said.
The movie, starring Ranbir Kapoor as Murphy aka Barfi, and Priyanka Chopra as Jhilmil, has been lauded in film circles for its simplistic and moving narrative that has managed to tug at the heartstrings of audiences which equally enjoy commercial potboilers.
The makers are joyous about the news.
"We are honoured that Barfi! has been selected to represent India as its official entry to the Academy Awards 2013. 'Barfi!' is very close to the hearts of all of us at UTV, and it gives us great satisfaction that a film we have developed and nurtured from its inception has met with so much love from audiences and critics worldwide," Siddharth Roy Kapur, managing director - Studios, Disney UTV, said in a statement.
"An added source of pride is that this is the fourth UTV film in the last seven years to have been selected to represent India at the Academy awards; our earlier selections being Rang De Basanti (2006), Harishchandrachi Factory (2009) and Peepli Live (2010)," he added.
Barfi! released September 14, and is still drawing full houses in theatres.
Barfi! is a moving tale of love beyond words - between a deaf and mute boy Murphy, played by Ranbir Kapoor, and an autistic girl Jhilmil, essayed effortlessly by the National award-winning Priyanka Chopra.
Southern actress Ileana D'Cruz, who has made her Bollywood debut with the movie, has also left a strong impact with her performance.
The film has been hailed in cinematic circles for its simplistic, yet heartwarming treatment. The viewers are expected to understand the nearly mute narrative through sign language and the beauty is that they do.
Filmmakers like Karan Johar and celebrities like megastar Amitabh Bachchan have praised the "masterpiece" and Basu is thankful to them all. Johar said he felt "talentless" after watching "Barfi!"
"It is really overwhelming when people praise your film. For me, Karan Johar's comment means a lot. Karan Johar's message was very humbling. It takes courage and you need a big heart to praise any other director. I also received some great messages, one from Big B as well. It feels great when people admire you," he said.