Many corners of the internet, including many publications from the West, have been quite shocked by the FFI’s decision to select Pan Nalin’s Chhello Show as India’s contender to the Oscars 2023 instead of SS Rajamouli’s RRR, which has made an impression on the audience all over the world. Some even called it a repetition of the year 2014 when the globally recognised film The Lunchbox was snubbed and instead, the Gujarati film The Good Road was chosen for the Oscars. Film producer Guneet Monga, who also co-produced The Lunchbox, took to social media on Friday to share that this is “not a repetition” of what happened nine years ago and wrote that RRR has a “huge chance at the Oscars.”
Guneet shared a long note in which she started by saying, “I want to start by saying this is NOT A REPETITION of 9 years ago. This is not what happened to The Lunchbox.” She went on to list the laurels that Chhello Show has already achieved and how the film has been acquired by many international distributors around the world.
She added, “However, RRR also has a HUGE chance at the Oscars 2023 and now, with its reach amplified through OTT platforms, the film received its much-deserved global recognition.” Guneet shared that even though the film is not in the Best International Feature Film category, it could win many other Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor among others.
“RRR is so unique! SS Rajamouli is the epitome of originality. I truly believe his voice in this world will shine at the awards. RRR already has a big fan base in the US and with so many mainstream journalists writing about it, and Hollywood actors tweeting and appreciating the film, it’s a start of increasing our footprint as Indian Cinema and expanding our fan base around the world, across languages,” she wrote.
Guneet spoke about the diversity that Indian cinema offers and how Chello Show and RRR offer two ends of the spectrum. “Oscars 2023 is our chance to show the world our storytelling spectrum. With an independent Gujarati film by a globally renowned filmmaker Pan Nalin, and with the scale and tenacity of SS Rajamouli’s blockbuster,” she wrote and added, “Given the global mandate of The Academy to select only one film from one country, we in India are at the losing end of the situation.”
It is well known that promoting a film in Hollywood is an expensive affair so Guneet requested the government to extend their support. “I hope our state and national government support the outreach at the awards as the marketing, the screenings and the outreach can cost anywhere from Rs 2 cr to 10 cr,” she wrote. “This is not the time to spread hate but to step forward with love and faith because this year it’s time for India to be seen,” she concluded.
Soon after India’s selection for the Oscar was announced, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote that the “Indian Academy” ignored the hype and chose to go with its own preferences and mentioned that the same had happened many times in the past. “India’s Academy did what it usually does: Ignore the hype and go with its own preferences. RRR is hardly the first Indian submission out of sync with awards potential in recent years,” he wrote. He listed down the films that had been ‘snubbed’ in the past. “The 2013 Hindi-language crowdpleaser The Lunchbox premiered at Cannes and received a considerable support from Sony Pictures Classics before India went with The Good Road; in 2020, Chaitanya Tamnhane’s immersive, decade-spanning drama The Disciple was a hit at Venice and scored Alfonso Cuarón as an executive producer, but the country submitted the edgy action-thriller Jallikattu instead,” he wrote.