The President of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), Ashoke Pandit, and the President of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), BN Tiwari, on Saturday held a press conference in Mumbai to share the issues raised by the two film bodies against the film selection process carried out by Film Federation of India (FFI). The FFI selected Gujarati film Chhello Show (Last Film Show) as India ‘s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards. SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files were considered by some to be frontrunners for the nomination.
At the press conference, Pandit alleged that there are loopholes in the selection process and argued that the FFI’s selection this year is a blunder.
Pandit said, “Year after year, the FFI has been making mistakes when it comes to nominating a film for Oscars. We don’t have an issue with the film, we are not questioning anyone’s creative talent. We feel that the system, the process followed in sending films, is faulty because of which our films are not standing a chance at winning the Oscars.”
He continued, “FWICE represents 31 associations and organisations. All the technicians and filmmakers are a part of the mother body called FWICE. After this year’s film selection for Oscars, we have raised some serious issues on the selection.”
Pandit then alleged that the film is not an Indian film. He said, “We don’t believe that the film is an Indian film. The film is primarily produced by foreign studios and the crew that worked on it is not from India, however the director is an Indian.” He added, “This film was entered in 2021 also. If the film entered last year how did it enter again this year, no film can enter twice. Whichever film enters the Oscars race should be made in a certain period, should have censor certificate in that period and should have released in that period too.”
Pandit then shared that the FWICE has written to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur and has shared their concerns. He said, “We have written a letter to Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur regarding this issue and have requested the government to take over the decision process of selecting films to compete at the Oscars and not have a private body making such huge decisions for the country. We request the government to reverse this decision and appoint a fresh committee to send another nomination for Oscars.”
Pandit also alleged that the film is a copy of the Oscar-winning film Italian-French film Cinema Paradiso (1988). He said, “We also condemn the casualness with which films are being selected for Oscars by FFI. Last year Gully Boy got rejected because it was a copy. Now this film is also a copy. Not a single film that is selected by FFI has been nominated there or shortlisted in the completion. The government has to decide which film goes for such a prestigious international award ceremony. When a government body enters such processes there is a sense of seriousness and such mistakes will not take place. The tragedy today is that the seriousness of film selection for Oscars from India is gone.”
“We are questioning the process of film selection for Oscars. We are not questioning the film, the jury members are great filmmakers and members of the fraternity. This is a matter of dignity of Indian cinema and we request the government to take over this process and send a fresh film for Oscars,” Pandit concluded.