Bengali director-producer Gautam Ghosh, who is part of the 16-member jury that selects India’s official entry to the Academy Awards, feels it is “unfair” to have each country submit only one film.
Now, Gautam has taken a step to attempt remedying this clause by asking the Film Federation of India (FFI) to write to the Academy. The FFI handpicks a jury that selects India’s official entry to the Oscars.
"Considering the number of films that we produce, and also our diversity, the federation should write to the Academy and explain why India should be allowed to send five films. Otherwise, it’s not fair," says Ghosh.
Citing examples, he adds, “Sri Lanka has about 30 to 40 films and smaller European countries and Korea make 60 to 70 films every year. In India, we make 1,500 films and even then we submit only one movie. This is a problem and we have to solve it. I cannot directly write (to the Academy), since it’s an arrangement between the two bodies, so I have given my recommendation to the federation,” says Ghosh.
Ask Gautam Ghosh where The Lunchbox, which supposedly had the highest probability to be the official entry for the Oscars, fell short, and he says, “I don’t know how to explain it. I loved the film. It's a 16-member jury and it was a marginal win. There were few other films in the race, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Vishwaroopam, English Vinglish, Celluloid in Malayalam and the Bengali film Shabdo. It’s a pity that you have to decide and pick one film, so someone will win and someone will lose."
However, he is of the view that getting an Oscar is not the ultimate milestone for a film. Ghosh says, “The Oscars give a foreign country scope to participate in a single category — Best Foreign Film. I think we are bogged down by the Oscars in our country."