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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

The Good Road a good choice for Oscars?

Kavita Awaasthi, Hindustan Times   September 24, 2013
First Published: 13:29 IST(24/9/2013) | Last Updated: 13:40 IST(24/9/2013)

Every year, a debate is sparked off when India’s official entry to the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars is announced. But the war of words hasn’t been this loud in years; neither have the opinions been this polarised.

As soon as the Gujarati film, The Good Road (TGR), was chosen, the opinionated Twitterati, and some Bollywood personalities among them, lashed out saying The Lunchbox (TL) or Ship of Theseus (SOT) deserved to be sent.

But if the 16-member jury at the Film Federation of India selected TGR, shouldn’t the decision be acknowledged? Adman Prahlad Kakkar says, “If most of Bollywood hasn’t seen the film yet, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. There will always be other contenders. A competent jury has decided on the merit of the film. We should respect that.” Filmmaker Anurag Basu, who faced detractors last year when his film Barfi! was chosen, says, “TL doesn’t need the crutches of the Oscar. It has already proved its worth at important film festivals around the world.”

Meanwhile, Sonali Kulkarni, a part of the cast of TGR says, “This is my first film that has gone to the Oscars. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.” About the criticism of the jury’s selection, she says, “Many people haven’t seen TGR as it hasn’t released yet (all over India), which is why I’m taking it (criticism) sportingly.” 

While filmmaker Anurag Kashyap let his opinions be known on twitter, his wife Kalki Koechlin says, “I was rooting for TL and SOT. As for the reactions, I think everyone has the right to an opinion. The international film fraternities don’t take us seriously. That’s why it’s important that Indian films make it to the Oscars, so we can show that Bollywood is more than the song-and-dance routine.”

While Sonali feels that making it to the Oscars “gives filmmakers a push to make more good cinema,” Anurag disagrees. He says, “The importance of the Oscars in India is just media hype. Bollywood has its presence at Cannes and other prestigious film festivals. Barfi! won the Grand Jury award at Okinava Film Festival, beating Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), which got nominated for four Oscars.”

Other contenders
The 21 films also on the shortlist
* Amma Neeku Vandanam (Telugu)
* Anumati (Marathi)
* Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi)
* Celluloid (Malayalam)
* Chaduvukovali (Telugu)
* Ekti Muhurter Jonyo (Bengali)
* English Vinglish (Hindi)
* Kai Po Che (Hindi)
* Kranthiveera Sangolli Rayanna (Kannada)
* Lootera (Hindi)
* Lucia (Kannada)
* Madras Cafe (Hindi)
* Mithunam (Telugu)
* Mumbai Police (Malayalam)
* Neerpuravai (Tamil)
* Shabdo (Bengali)
* Ship of Theseus (Hinglish)
* Sri Jagadguru Aadishankara(Telugu)
* Tasher Desh (Bengali)
* The Lunchbox  (Hindi)
* Vishwaroopam (Tamil)

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