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“Court” India’s official entry to Oscars 2016


Mumbai:  Chaitanya Tamhane’s National award- winning Marathi film “Court”, a poignant commentary on India’s judicial system, beat competition from Bollywood entries like “PK”, “Haider” and “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” to be selected as the country’s official entry for the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars next year.

“‘Court’ has been selected as the official entry to the Oscars. There were 30 films in the race this year,” Supran Sen, secretary general of the Film Federation of India (FFI), told PTI today.

“‘PK’, ‘Masaan’, ‘Killa’, ‘Haider’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Bahubali’ were among the movies which were in the race. But ‘Court’ was the unanimous choice by the jury,” he added.

The independent, low-budget but gripping drama received widespread praise from the critics, who hailed it as one of the best movies to emerge from the country in recent times and Tamhane is happy that the 17-member jury, headed by veteran actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar, chose his directorial debut.

“At every juncture of the film’s journey, we have felt that it has given us more than we could ever imagine. Once again, this has come as a genuine surprise to both Vivek (Gomber, producer-actor) and me.

“Ever since we started making the film, we kept our expectations low. Especially in this case, since these results tend to be so unpredictable, it just felt like a wise thing to not expect too much. Now that it has actually happened, we would like to thank the jury for their decision and everyone who has supported the film so far,” Tamhane said.

Film’s actress Geetanjali Kulkarni called the selection a huge honour.

“It is an incredible and unbelievable achievement. We wanted it so we are very happy. It is a good sign that a National award win was considered while selecting a movie for Oscars,” Geetanjali told PTI.

“Court” was named the Best Picture at the National film awards this year, besides winning 17 international honours after its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in 2014.

The drama unfolds through an aging folk singer, who is tried for abetment to suicide in a court. The movie, inspired by the real life story of folk singer Jiten Marandi, who got embroiled in a criminal case after a bomb blast, critiques the justice delivery system, its chaos and delays, which affect the common man’s freedom.

India is yet to win an Oscar in the best foreign film category. The last Indian film that made it to the final five list was Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Lagaan”. “Mother India” and “Salaam Bombay” are the other two Indian films to have made it to the list.

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