Filmmakers Vikramaditya Motwane, Hansal Mehta and actor Tillotama Shome on Wednesday congratulated Malayalam director Lijo Jose Pellissery after his film Jallikattu was selected as India’s official entry for the International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards.
The critically-acclaimed feature, which derives its name from the popular-yet-controversial bull-taming event from the South, was unanimously chosen from 27 entries across Hindi, Marathi and other languages.
Based on a short story by Hareesh, the movie is about a tribe of men coming together to stop a bull that has run amok in their village.
Motwane took to Twitter and hailed Jallikattu as a deserving entry.””
“Outstanding film and outstanding choice!” the Udaan helmer tweeted.
Mehta, whose latest movie Chhalaang was among the titles considered for the Oscars selection, wrote in a post, “What a film!”
— Tillotama Shome (@TillotamaShome) November 25, 2020
Shome congratulated the entire team of the film for the selection.
“Congratulations to Lijo Jose Pelliserry and the entire team of #Jallikattu for being India’s entry for the Foreign language film category,” she added.
Sharing the news on Twitter, filmmaker Nambiar wrote, “Yes! This is just phenomenal.”
“Huge congrats to #LijoJosePellissery and the entire team of #Jallikattu #TheBeginning,” said South star Prithviraj Sukumaran.
— Prithviraj Sukumaran (@PrithviOfficial) November 25, 2020
Filmmaker Rawail, Chairman, Jury Board, Film Federation of India, had announced earlier in the day that Jallikattu has been selected as India’s official entry for the Oscars.
The 27 films that were considered by the jury included titles such as Chhapaak, Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo Sitabo, Eeb Allay Ooo!, The Sky is Pink, Bulbbul and internationally-celebrated feature The Disciple.
During an online press conference, Rawail said Jallikattu brought out the “raw problems which are there in human beings.”
“The whole film talks about an animal that has run amok in a butcher’s shop… The film has been depicted wonderfully and it has been shot very well. The emotion that comes out really moved all of us to have it selected,” the chairman said.
Pellissery said he is “extremely happy” that his movie has been selected for 2021 Oscars.
“Extremely happy to know that ‘Jallikattu’ gained entry in the Oscar. This is a moment of happiness for all those who ‘raced’ for the film,” the filmmaker told PTI.
Jallikattu had its premiere in September 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival and received widespread critical acclaim.
The movie was particularly praised for Pellissery’s spectacular directing effort, ably supported by Girish Gangadharan’s cinematography and Renganaath Ravee’s wild sound design work.
Pellissery, known for critically acclaimed films like Angamaly Diaries and Ea Ma Yau, also won the best director trophy at the 50th International Film Festival of India last year for Jallikattu.
No Indian film has ever won an Oscar. The last film from India that made it to the final five in the Best Foreign Film category list was Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan in 2001.
Mother India (1958) and Salaam Bombay (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.
Last year, Zoya Akhtar’s Hindi feature Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India’s entry to the Oscars.
Period, End of Sentence, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and co-produced by Indian filmmaker Guneet Monga, earned the Academy Award in the best documentary (short subject) category in 2019.
In June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) had announced that the 2021 Oscars will be held on April 25, 2021, eight weeks later than originally planned because of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the film industry.
The eligibility window for feature films has also been pushed to February 28, 2021.