One of the biggest box office duds of the year is India’s official entry for the Oscars, and the choice has baffled many in Bollywood.
The 11-member jury of the Film Federation of India (FFI) on Monday decided to send Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s
Eklavya: The Royal Guard
to vie for the best foreign film at the Academy Awards, dubbed the Oscars, usually held in February or March every year.
Released in March,
failed to charm the box office despite big names such as Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan. The Rs 20 crore movie opened to negative reviews and ran in theatres for barely three weeks.
“It’s a shameful decision. I think the so-called jury doesn’t know what its doing,” said film producer Pahlaj Nihalani.
“With due respect, I think it would have been wiser to not have an official Oscar entry than sending a film that doesn’t deserve to be there.”
The other movies considered were Shimit Amin’s
Chak De! India
, Mani Ratnam’s
, Feroz Abbas Khan’s
Gandhi My Father
and Bhavna Talwar’s
. Jury member and FFI chairman Vinod Pande said, “The decision has caused some heartburn. I don’t deny that the others were extremely popular films and quite competent too. But the jury has made a wise decision.”
An elated Chopra said, “No film can ever please everyone. I think people in India need to grow up. When my films (
) didn’t make it as India’s official entries earlier, I didn’t sulk. I wished the others luck. All I can say is I’m hopeful this time.”