Suparn Sen, the secretary of Film Federation of India (FFI) has written a letter to The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra, demanding an unconditional apology for his comments on the jury for selection of India's official entry to the Oscars.
Sen writes in the letter, "Film Federation of India takes great umbrage at the way you have gone about demeaning a film when an eminent jury has selected it as India's entry. You might not agree with the selection, that's your prerogative. but to continuously and recklessly make comments and innuendos about it is really not done. "
Soon after the official entry for Oscars was announced, Ritesh Batra expressed his disenchantment saying, "It's heartbreaking. This was our shot at getting the Oscar back to India."
The director further added, "Our US distributors Sony Pictures are also very disappointed. They feel this was one Indian film that could have gone all the way."
Wondering how Batra could make such claims, the letter further states, "How can Sony Classics assure you of any such thing? Are you suggesting that the Oscars is rigged? We are taking this up separately with the Academy...we are lead to believe that you have a letter from Sony Classics which is the reason for your confidence...can you share it with us?"
The letter also said that the FFI kept mum till date as they assumed Batra's comments were "acute disappointment of a young boy with his debut film. But what you have recently posted in your Facebook account about 'there being a corruption' in the process is a serious allegation. Are you aware that The Good Road is produced by NFDC, a Govt of India undertaking! Are you then suggesting that the I&B Ministry i.e. The Government of India has made a successfull attempt in bribing the jurors? Very serious allegations indeed...we are taking up this matter with the I&B Ministry."
The secretary general of FFI concludes the letter with a demand for apology, "we are expecting an unconditional apology from you for all your derogatory remarks about the federation and the Oscar jury."
Sonali Kulkarni on The Good Road chosen as India's official Oscar entry: “This is my first film that has gone to the Oscars. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.”