Chhello Show gets Oscar nod, makers of RRR still hopeful

Bollywood Entertainment

Contrary to the popular consensus on a nod for RRR or The Kashmir Files, Pan Nalin’s Gujarati film Chhello Show (titled The Last Film Show in English) has been named India’s official choice for Best International Feature at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards.

“I could have never imagined such a day would come. Now, I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens,” Nalin said on the honour for his film, which is set against the backdrop of cinemas in India that saw the transition from celluloid to digital.

However, this move by the Film Federation of India (FFI) has also seemingly upset a section of cinegoers rooting for films such as RRR and The Kashmir Files. The same was evident on social media as well, with #RRRForOscars trending within no time.

Reacting to the chatter on the FFI’s decision, director-actor TS Nagabharana, who served as the head of the committee of selection for the Oscars, revealed Chhello Show was picked “unanimously” by a 17-member jury. “We know everyone was expecting RRR. But, the idea was to have a film that represents the country in an Indian, unique way. Chhello Show transcends the narrative of the regular Indian reality in a broader sense, while tugging on emotional chords,” he says.

On the RRR snub, he adds, “Do people mean to say only marketing, entertainment value or collection figure are the criteria to make a mark at the Oscars? It is the story that matters, not the popularity.”

But, all is not lost for the SS Rajamouli-directorial, for the film’s US distributor is set to seek nomination in other categories. According to Variety, the film will be submitted for best picture, director, original screenplay, lead actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, original song, among other categories.

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files was also seen as one of the top contenders. But the filmmaker is not sure about going the independent way like RRR.

“I wish the whole team of Chhello Show good luck for the Oscars 2023. I have nothing else to say. When it comes to applying independently, it is a decision the producers will take. Right now, I am doing another film and have moved on,” Agnihotri tells us.

In India’s Oscars history, three films have been nominated for Best International Feature, namely Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Lagaan (2001). But, none have won.

According to trade expert Atul Mohan, RRR still holds a chance to shine bright at the awards, but he believes it is “too early to shrug off the chances of Chhello Show”.

Echoing similar sentiments, trade expert Taran Adarsh adds, “Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for some Oscar glory for India.”

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