Acclaimed Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh is not sure if Bollywood film Barfi!, India's official entry for the Oscars this year, is the right choice. But he laments how regional cinema, including his own, is ignored for such honours.
"I haven't seen Barfi!. So I cannot comment on its suitability or unsuitability for the Oscars. What I'd like to point out is that all Indian Oscar nominations have come from Bollywood, barring a few 'politically perforced' Marathi films. Why this discrimination?": Ghosh tweeted Tuesday morning.
In the past five years, two regional films -- Marathi movie Harishchandrachi Factory (2009) and Malayalam movie Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) -- were sent as the country's official entries for Oscar in the best foreign film category.
"India has a strong enriching tradition of regional cinema being made all over the country. Why then is this continuing emphasis on Bollywood work for the Oscars?": Ghosh wrote.
Ghosh is credited for helming critically acclaimed and National award-winning films like Dahan, Utsab, Chokher Bali, Raincoat, Dosor, The Last Lear, Shob Charitro Kalponik and "Abohoman". He has won international honours too, but none of his projects have been sent for the golden statuette.
"I do think that some of my films were legitimately nomination-worthy. But that is not the point," posted the 49-year-old.
"I also consider Anurag Basu ('Barfi!' director) to be an extremely talented colleague. What bugs me is the deliberate denial of the entire repertoire of cinema produced outside Mumbai. Are we to learn hereby that Indian cinema will forever be defined by Bollywood only?
"India, I'm afraid, has many film lovers but few connoisseurs of cinema. So, when they find a favourite film they go all out to celebrate it and fail to distinguish between the film and its cinematic content. As a result, we lose the proper perspective and the context," he added.
"Barfi!" was chosen out of 20 shortlisted films to be sent for the Oscars, by the Film Federation of India.
The film, released Sep 14, features Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D'Cruz. It narrates a moving tale of a deaf and mute boy and an autistic girl, depicting how love knows no language.