The controversy surrounding India’s Oscar entry, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya: The Royal Guard, intensified on Saturday with the Bombay High Court saying the selection appeared to be “prima facie biased”.
Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud asked the Film Federation of India to respond within 10 days to a petition filed by filmmaker Bhavna Talwar challenging the entry. Talwar’s Dharm was in the Oscar race, but lost to Eklavya.
Talwar and producer WSG Pictures had moved the court alleging that some members of the selection committee — director Sudhir Mishra, Jagdish Sharma and Ranjit Bahadur — were “very close” to Chopra. They said Bahadur was the editor of Making of Eklavya, a promo for the film.
The judges allowed Sharma and Bahadur to file affidavits in reply. The chairperson of the jury that selected Eklavya, Vinod Pande, and Chopra were made respondents.
Chopra later issued this statement: “The Honorable High Court has not issued any restraining order/stay or injunction in the matter... I will abide by the order.” Bhavna termed it a “huge encouragement”.