New Delhi: First time director Chaitanya Tamhane's Marathi film 'Court', a National Award winner, has been chosen as India's official entry for the 88th Academy Awards.
Also read: 'Court' - Movie Review
A still from 'Court'
"'Court' has been selected as the official entry to the Oscars. There were 30 films in the running this year," Supran Sen, secretary general of the Film Federation of India (FFI), told PTI today.
Poster of 'Court'. Picture courtesy: 'Court' film's Twitter account @CourtTheFilm
Veteran actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar was heading the jury for choosing the entry this year.
Tamhane's independent, low-budget but gripping drama recieved widespread praise from the critics, who hailed it as one of the best movies to emerge out of the country in recent times.
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 team of newcomers and first time directors and producers. It is really encouraging and promising. It feels good that our first film got unanimous praise nationally and internationally. It is also a good sign that a National award win was considered while selecting a movie for Oscars," Geetanjali told PTI.
"Court" was also named the Best Picture at the National film awards this year, besides winning 17 international honours after being premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last year.
In pictures: India's Oscar connection
The drama unfolds through an aging folk singer, who is tried for abetment to suicide in a court. The film, 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 has never won 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 top five.
The 88th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 28, 2016.
India's Oscar connect
Films based on Indian themes which have dominated and won awards at the Oscars:
1983: Bhanu Athaiya took home an Oscar in the Best Costume Design category at the 55th Annual Academy Awards for Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi'.
1992: Legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray was bestowed with an honorary Oscar for his contribution to cinema.
2008: Musician AR Rahman, sound engineer Resul Pookutty and lyricist Gulzar received awards for Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
2013: Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi', an adventure drama widely shot in India, bagged the 85th Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Direction and Best Original Score. The same year, Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, a historical drama about the last few months of 16th US President Abraham Lincoln, bagged the Best Lead Actor award (Daniel Day-Lewis). The India connection was that the film was co-produced by Indian business tycoon Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment and DreamWorks.