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Okay, so Eklavya is India's entry to the Oscars. But there's a sub-plot. The Namesake, produced by Fox-Searchlight, will be in the running for the top Academy Award honours, informs RA Irani.

entertainment Updated: Oct 22, 2007 11:47 IST
RA Irani
RA Irani
Hindustan Times

Okay, so Eklavya has been firmed as India's entry to the Oscars.

But there's a sub-plot. The Namesake, produced by Fox-Searchlight, will be in the running for the top Academy Award honours.. in fact, Tabu, Mira Nair and Sooni Taraporevala have just flown to Los Angeles for a promotional tour, mandatory for all movies aspiring to the top five nomination list.

The wow factor has been consistently strong for Tabu's s performance as a Kolkata woman who leads the sometimes-lonely-sometimes-resilient life in the US.

That Jhumpa Lahiri's book was a bestseller the world over and that its film version was directed by the feisty Mira Nair, gave the project a certain buzz from the moment it was shot in India and the U S.

The film's upbeat commercial performance globally also makes it a strong Oscar contender. Ironically Nair who was hoping for an Oscar nod at least in the nominations with the extravagantly-mounted Vanity Fair, has been lionised essentially for her ‘crossover' movies - the three toppers have been Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding and now, The Namesake.

<b1>Duds too
In between, there have been disappointments, particularly the unintentionally chuckle-worthy Kama Sutra. The director, who hops between the US, Africa and India, is more than likely to be in the running this year.. after all, The Namesake created an infinitely stronger impact than Deepa Mehta's Water, which did get a nomination nod in the Best Foreign Film category last year.

Mira Nair, a whiz at marketing, is undoubtedly an articulate speaker. Earlier, Salaam Bombay made it to the nomination finals.

Tabu, who left Mumbai early Sunday morning, has been singled out for attention in reviews all over the world. We contacted her to tell her that the Oscar buzz about her performance was pretty high, to which she responded, "I am certainly nervous.. I have never been able to hype myself or my work." Point noted.

Interestingly, the role of Ashima (played by Tabu) was initially offered to Rani Mukherji and then Konkona Sen Sharma, but both turned it down as they didn't want to age on screen.

Screenplay talk

Taraporevala, who has collaborated on several scripts with Nair and has picked up several awards for her writing, will soon make her debut as a director with the film Little Zizou.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards two Best Screenplay Awards, one for an original work and the other for the best adaptation from a book. Taraporevala's screenplay for Lahiri's book was noticed by discerning viewers as well as critics across the board.

Irrfan Khan and Kal Penn could be an either-or shoo-in in the Best Supporting Actor category. The eclectic music score by Nitin Sawhney could also get a nod. So, here's keeping the hopes high.

Like it or not, there's no higher recognition in the world for cinema than the good old Oscars in its 80th edition this year.

First Published: Oct 22, 2007 11:30 IST