A euphoric shock for the underdogs: ‘Court’ actor Vivek Gomber | punjab$htcity | Hindustan Times
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A euphoric shock for the underdogs: ‘Court’ actor Vivek Gomber

Keeping expectations in check while working hard is the mantra of the team of multilingual film Court, which has been selected by the Film Federation of India as India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language film category at the 88th Academy Awards slated to take place in February 2016.

punjab Updated: Sep 29, 2015 15:30 IST
Harjeet Inder Singh Sahi
For lead actor and producer Vivek Gomber, Court’s selection as India’s official Oscar entry was nothing short of a surprise; says building a good promotional campaign is the priority now
For lead actor and producer Vivek Gomber, Court’s selection as India’s official Oscar entry was nothing short of a surprise; says building a good promotional campaign is the priority now(HT Photo)

Keeping expectations in check while working hard is the mantra of the team of multilingual film Court, which has been selected by the Film Federation of India as India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language film category at the 88th Academy Awards slated to take place in February 2016.

The film has been tagged as a Marathi film by many media publications. “The film is multilingual, it has been tagged as a Marathi film because Marathi language features the most in it and the Censor Board of Film Certification awarded the certificate in Marathi category. I think it is an Indian film and a multilingual one,” says Vivek Gomber, producer and lead actor of Court.

Court’s director Chaitanya Tamhane and Vivek were in Japan for screenings and promotion when they received the Oscar news. People on social media and other forums are as surprised as the film-makers that a genuinely good and low budget film got selected. The film federation’s track record of selection doesn’t impress many.

“We were completely surprised by the selection, in fact it’s a euphoric shock for the underdogs. Let me be very straightforward, we never expected anything from the film. One cannot make a film by first thinking about awards and accolades. They come on their own and reward your hard work,” says Vivek.

On the next item on his to-do list, Vivek says, “As the producer, the team and I have to build a good promotional campaign in the US by hiring a publicist. Our US distributor, Zeitgeist Films, is helping us in this direction. The process of submissions at the Academy is due on October 1. After that we have to build the campaign and sustain it till next year.”

Court got a rousing response not only by critics but also by those who are tired of typical masala Bollywood films. “About 15 months ago, hardly anyone knew about the film. We are happy that despite having a slim budget, the film has managed to do well. The journey so far has been beyond the imagination of both Chaitanya and I. The key idea is to adapt and surge ahead, and we will be putting in lots of efforts to do exactly that,” says Vivek.

Foreign Language Film category is different because the submissions are taken as coming from the countries and not from the producers. The Academy Award given under this category is seen as an award for the country as a whole. “It’s a huge responsibility for us, we have to take care of everything to put our best foot forward,” says Vivek.

Indians are often accused of a postcolonial hangover and hankering after appreciation from the West. “Firsttime film producers and directors have to grab every opportunity. For Chaitanya and me, the premiere of the film at the Venice Film Festival was a huge thing. Similarly, appreciation at the Mumbai Film Festival was another big step. They are all avenues, whether Indian or foreign,” counters Vivek.

On his next acting role or production, Vivek says, “I have not thought about it at all. Right now, the focus has to be on the campaign for Court. There are many ifs and buts, and a lot remains to be done.” Court and its makers certainly need a lot of luck and slogging, as they will be competing with the best film entries from across the globe. The last Indian film to be nominated in the final list of five for the award was Lagaan in 2001.