The makers of Tamil drama Visaaranai, which was not shortlisted in the nine movies that have advanced in the Foreign Language Film category at the upcoming 89th Oscars, said they did their best to highlight the critically-acclaimed film.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday announced the top nine contenders for the category.
National Award winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran, who has directed the movie, along with the film’s executive producers Guneet Monga and Aalif Surti, who were in Los Angeles for the campaign for two months, issued a joint statement in reaction to the news.
The statement read: “We did our best to ensure that the film was viewed widely by opinion makers and committee members and the fact that we made it to the top contenders’ list in both Hollywood Reporter and Variety shows that the film did make an impact, which is a first for a Tamil film, and huge for an Indian film at the Oscars.
“But finally we have to accept that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ voting members preferred nine other films in a year which had an all-time high record of 85 competing films.”
The team is confident “it will get better and better every year for India, now with the government supporting our films. And it won’t be long before an Indian film wins the Best Foreign Language Film Award at Oscars.”
Visaaranai is based on the novel Lock Up by auto rickshaw driver-turned-writer M Chandrakumar, highlighting organised crime within the police force. Featuring Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Ajay Ghosh and Kishore in the lead, it was produced by southern star Dhanush.
“We really want to thank Dhanush for producing the film and making the campaign happen and for supporting it,” the team said.
Visaaranai was the ninth Tamil film to have been chosen as a hopeful to bring the Oscar statuette to India. Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram (released in 2000) was the last film in the language to compete.
Mother India, Salaam Bombay! and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India are the only Indian films that made it to the top five in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards, but none have won the honour.
The 89th Academy Awards, to be held next year, will mark the 60th anniversary of the Foreign Language Film category.
The chosen films this year are: Tanna (Australia), It’s Only the End of the World (Canada), Land of Mine (Denmark), Toni Erdmann (Germany), The Salesman (Iran), The King’s Choice (Norway), Paradise (Russia), A Man Called Ove (Sweden) and My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland).
This list will be winnowed down to the category’s five nominees by specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London.
Final nominations for the 89th Oscars will be announced on January 24, 2017, ahead of the presentation ceremony on February 26, 2017.