It won’t be wrong to say that the Film Federation of India (FFI) caused an international incident on Tuesday evening when it picked the Gujarati film Chhello Show (Last Film Show) as India’s official Oscar entry, instead of SS Rajamouli’s global hit RRR. After the announcement, fans of the movie had a meltdown on social media, making RRR the top trend. The strong reactions didn’t just come from fans in India, but also the international community reacted strongly to FFI’s decision.
“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined Film Federation of India ignoring #RRR for India’s official entry to the Oscars. One year when we stood a good chance with it. Moreover, wasn’t #ChhelloShow in contention last year? Didn’t one of the members rip it apart?,” wrote film journalist Namrata Joshi.
Even critics of RRR can’t help but vouch for the kind of buzz the film has managed to create on its own, without a lot of effort from its producers. “This is not an endorsement of the artistic merits or demerits of #RRR but an acknowledgment of the sway it holds in the West. So many people have been talking to@me about it @TIFF_NET #TIFF22 … What a mighty mess!,” Namrata added.
Many pointed out that FFI has repeated the same mistake of not picking The Lunchbox for the Oscars in 2014 as the film had created quite an impression on the international audience after its screening at Cannes. “High time we change the way how foreign films are selected for Oscars. #RRRMovie,” wrote a Twitter user.
And the popular consensus seems to be that Chhello Show cannot end India’s Oscar nomination drought of 21 years. “Gujarati film #ChhelloShow is India’s official entry for Oscars 2023 and as always India has ZERO chance of getting nominated forget about winning. #RRR was our BEST BET in last 2 decades to win an oscar for India. Really Sad to see Film federation of India ignored this fact,” wrote film trade analyst Sumit Kadel.
“And i am not saying #ChhelloShow is not a good film, i am sure it is but we should always keep our best foot forward and #RRR winnability compared to this film was 1000% times more,” he added.
While there seems to be widespread anguish among the fans of RRR, it is not the end of the road for the movie at the Oscars. In fact, the makers are now in the process of submitting the movie in various top categories, including Best Pictures and Best Original Score.
Film distributor Dylan Marchetti of Variance Films, who is leading RRR’s Oscar campaign, told IndieWire, “The only thing this news changes, is one less award we can go after. There’s a dozen-plus other we can go for now. This film is the whole package.”
RRR is set in British India and it follows the adventure of two tribal leaders, played by Ram Charan and Jr NTR, who take on the mighty empire.