Paresh Mokashi, whose Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars, is stuck without a visa to the US. The US consulate in Mumbai refused to give him the visa, saying they didn’t know him or that his film is going for the Oscars. “I don’t blame them. I didn’t have a face that was instantly recognisable. They didn’t know who I was. And I had no papers to prove that this disoriented looking man had made a film that had been sent to the Oscars,” said Mokashi.
The director had no papers, not even a letter from the Academy Awards panel to prove his eligibility for the visa because he’d given all the documents to his producers — UTV. “Whatever intimation I got about the Oscar entry from the US, I handed over to UTV. But, of course, the US consulate didn’t say I was lying. They felt I was not eligible until I had the documents. This was my first encounter for an American visa. And naturally my first trip to the US,” said Mokashi.
“The only time I’ve been abroad was to shoot a part of Hrishchandrachi Factory in London. So I was completely unaware of how things work. I don’t know how to handle it,” added the director who had to mortgage his house to make the film. UTV had to step in to rescue the director, who needed to be in LA from November 2. “The US consulate has promised to give me a visa after taking my passport. They said they’d grant me a visa. Let’s see.”