Chaitanya Tamhane is currently in Fukuoka, Japan, attending a film festival. Back in India, the 28-year-old’s directorial debut, Court, is making headlines. The Marathi film has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars (2016) in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Chaitanya, no doubt, is overwhelmed. Speaking to us over the phone from Japan, the first-time director tells us more.
How hopeful were you about your film being selected?
We had kept our expectations low, because things (previous selections) have been very unpredictable in the past. Of course, we applied. I was definitely surprised. We are very happy about it.
The Oscars are a different ball game altogether. There’s a lot of preparation and lobbying that goes into getting the jury to watch your film. How are you planning to get Court noticed there?
We have just got the news. We have to take some time to process it, and strategically make a plan. We have distributors in the US, who have had some of their films nominated in the final five, and some of them have even won the award. So, we will be relying a lot on their expertise. Of course, we will also take the help of other Indian producers, who have been through this journey.
Watch the trailer for Court here
Your film did not release in many parts of India. Do you plan to re-release it now?
Yes. If there is a demand from exhibitors from other parts of the country, I am sure Vivek Gomber, as a producer, will respond to it positively.
This selection will lead to a lot of pressure and expectations. Have you thought about that?
I tend not to take too much stress. Of course, I am very grateful for what has happened with Court, and I feel very privileged, but I will try my best to maintain a balance in my mind with the next one. I will work on it with the same energy and zeal as I had the first time.
Marketing the film internationally will be an expensive affair. How do you plan to go about that?
That’s a question you should ask Vivek, because that would be his responsibility. But I am sure he will figure something out. It’s a responsibility that the Film Federation Of India (FII) has given us, and we will make sure we do our best.
Your film has won a number of international awards, including a few at the Venice Film Festival. Do you think these honours made it an easy choice for the FII?
I don’t know what the jury went by, or what their consideration or criterion for the selection was. That’s something you need to ask them.
What are you working on next?
I have something, but it will take me another two months to even talk about it. Right now, it’s just an idea that I am developing.