Tracing the Indian link at the Oscars

With Gyan Correa’s The Good Road out of contention in the Best Foreign Film category, the debate on its selection over Ritesh Batra The Lunchbox is rife again. But all is not lost yet. There are still something to cheer for. Some films from the country have found themselves and can hope to click -- as far-fetched as it may sound now -- when the final ten nomination list of the 86th Oscars will be announced on January 16, 2014. HitList points them out...

'Touring Talkies'
'Touring Talkies'
Among the 289 entries is Trupti Bhoir’s Touring Talkies. Earlier, this film on the dying number of mobile theatres in India travelled to several film festivals. Like Ajita, Trupti too decided to go independent in her Oscar quest. She too skipped the usual procedure of submitting via Film Federation of India (FFI).

'Ballad of Rustom'
'Ballad of Rustom'
Out of the 3000 entries sent to the Academy Awards, 289 films have been selected for further filtering. One of them is Ballad of Rustom. Directed by Ajita Suchitra Veera, it’s an independent film in the real sense of word.

Ajita Suchitra Veera
A still from 'Ballad of Rustom' (above) and Ajita Suchitra Veera

The Hyderabad-based filmmaker not only wrote, produced and directed the fantasy venture but also edited and took care of the production designing and background score.

The news of her film being shortlisted came as a pleasant surprise. “I submitted my film directly for the competition because I feel that when an Indian film goes on a global platform, it should be as independent as possible. Also, the whole upcoming trend of international collaborations dilutes the essence of originality. A lot of times, what we see is an Indian concept eventually becoming Western under the pretext of universality. I feel my film is much rooted in the country and I’m proud of it,” says Ajita.

Shot on a 35 mm camera followed by traditional negative cutting, Ballad of Rustom is an imaginative tale conveyed through a rustic woodcutter. On being asked to comment on her debut feature film’s chances of making it to the final ten, the jovial filmmaker sounds realistic. “In all probability, the very fact that my film made it to the shortlisted category of 289 films is nothing less than a huge compliment. My aim is to take the film forward and showcase it at as many fests as possible before finding a feasible distribution strategy,” sums up Ajita.

'Kamasutra 3D'

Sheryln Chopra in 'Kamasutra 3D'
Sheryln Chopra in 'Kamasutra 3D'

The erotic film, starring Sheryln Chopra, is among the 75 hopefuls in the Best Original Song category. Interestingly, it’s the only film other than the Leo DiCaprio’s The Great Gatsby to have five songs in the list. Sachin and Sreejith composed all the songs while Rupesh Paul and Pratyush Prakash penned the lyrics.

Long shot
Shubhashish Bhutiani’s debut effort, short film Kush, is in the running for the Best Live Action (short) amongst nine other hopefuls. Either three or five films will be shortlisted by the Short Films and Feature Animation members.

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