India Nominates Eklavya To Oscars, Sparks Fly

September 26, 2007
Deepti Lamba

Patriotic movies may be the latest flavor in Bollywood but they do not seem to garner much mileage at the Oscars. After the rejections of Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho Munnabhai, the movie Chak De! India was easily sidelined; instead the movie Eklavya by Vidhu Vinod Chopra was picked by the Indian jury to be submitted to the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who host the Oscars. This has caused some intense fur flying in the Indian Film Industry.

President, Associaton of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, Pahlaj Nihalani made some scathing remarks:

"It is disgraceful that the jury has selected a movie for the Oscars, which has been rejected by the people. I don't see any logic behind selecting this movie when there were other deserving movies like Chak De! India. If this is the taste of the jury, then it is better they leave the industry.Eklavya doesn't deserves an Oscar entry. The selection has been done under the influence of certain people, which is shameful"
Insidious allegations were also made that like Paheli where Shah Rukh Khan had allegedly pressured the jury to submit his movie at the Oscars similar tactics had been employed by certain individuals to forward Eklavya's cause. This is the third film by Vidhu Vinod Chopra to be nominated to the Oscars, and India has not yet won a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Editor of Super Cinema, Vikas Mohan however denied such charges and said the decision had been reached democratically by the eleven-member jury after much deliberation.

Movies such as Guru, Sivaji, Swami and even Dharm were also sidelined.

Film critic and editor of Film Information, Komal Nahata, however was quick to defend Eklayva as the right choice:

"It is a good movie and well appreciated abroad. Box Office performance of a movie here is not the criteria of nominating a movie for Oscars," Nahata said.

Though the cinematography and production quality of Eklavya were good but the storyline was hampered by a weak, unconvincing Bollywood fairy tale ending.

The chances of Eklavya being accepted for an Oscar nomination are few despite superb acting by Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali. Guru would have been a better contender for the Oscars since the movie was true to the Indian socialistic reality and the acting of Mithun-da was extraordinary.

While movie reviews are often subjective, one thing is for sure, our Indian film critics understand the difference between Box Office Hits and what actually makes an extraordinary movie.

The final date for submissions of Best Foreign Language Film nominees is October 1st. 95 countries will be submitting nominations. Films must be primarily in a language other than English, and must have been released in the submitting country between October 1, 2006, and September 30, 2007. The animated Persepolis is France's entry, Ireland has chosen Kings, and last year's winner, Germany, has selected The Edge of Heaven. There is some controversy over Britain's selection, with the BAFTA not having chosen any from the internal shortlist, including the first Scots Gaelic film, Seachd.

The 80th Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2007 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, Los Angeles.

Deepti Lamba is a writer, an editor for Desicritics. She can be found at Things That Bang
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September 26, 2007
03:30 AM

Eklavya perpetuates the worst stereotypes, IMHO, about Indian society.

September 26, 2007
05:32 AM

I never even HEARD of it... was it out for like 3.5 minutes or?

Deepti Lamba
September 26, 2007
05:50 AM

SS, it started off a promising movie but somewhere down the line we all snoozed;)

September 26, 2007
09:46 AM

My favourite scene in Eklavya was when AB backs out the door, bowing with each step and then does the superman take off routine. Hilarious...if unintentionally so.

Was a close tie between that and the dry humping death scene with Sharmila Tagore (HOW could you do it????????)

May be its a fingers-up to the Oscars, unintentional just as the humour in Eklavya?

September 26, 2007
10:19 AM

even though chak de india is a good movie, and all artists performed well, it may be termed as a copy cat movie...inspired by hollywood movie.

in my opinion, gandhi my father is the is the best for Oscar nominee

September 26, 2007
12:15 PM

I think they seem to pick films that would be most likely to be perceived as "exotic", a sort of tourism-brochure, if you will.

I thought Eklavya was awfully self conscious, VVC was all over it.

Deepti Lamba
September 27, 2007
12:42 AM

Generally most Bollywood movies are not worth watching on the big screen.

September 27, 2007
02:23 AM

"Generally most Bollywood movies are not worth watching on the big screen." I congratulate Deepti for that excellent observation.

I like to add that most of the Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies dubbed as hits are just third-rate movies that will never pass the first stage, if it would have been some other country. The scripts do not have any logic. There is nothing called acting, except bombastic dialogues and shouting that includes some crude jokes unfit for cultured people. Actresses are merely for maximum skin show. Item girls are respected more than actors that really acts. Songs are inducted to show sleaze and bare skin. The censor board is out there to promote sleaze, instead of movies that make sense. It's high time that we did something to induct some "cinema sense" to stem the rot in the name of cinema.

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