June 10, 2023

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Malayalam film Jallikattu is India’s official entry to Oscars 2021

Malayalam film Jallikattu is India’s official entry to the 93rd Academy Awards. The jury selected Jallikattu over Chhappak, Shikara, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, among others.
The Film Federation of India jury, headed by filmmaker Rahul Rawail, picked Jallikattu as India’s entry for the Best International Film category at the Academy Awards aka the Oscars. Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, whose earlier credits include Angamaly Diaries and Ee Ma Yau, the action drama follows a chaotic day in the life of a village where a bull has run amok.

The Malayalam film beat 26 contenders including Chaitanya Tamhane’s Venice International Film Festival-winner The Disciple, Rohena Gera’s Is Love Enough, Sir, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara, Deepika Padukone-starrer Chhappak, Netflix releases such as Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Bulbbul and Serious Men, Amazon Prime Video releases Shakuntala Devi, Chhlaang and Gulabo Sitabo for the honour.

Rawail said it was “a majority choice” of the 14-member jury. “It’s a film which shows human instincts are worse than (that of) animals,” said Rawail of the film. “The unique ensemble of characters and the location, coupled with the technical and human aspects, it was the best from the package. It is a production to be proud of.”

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that this was the first time there was a virtual selection process, with Rawail and the jury members watching four to five films a day online over the last week. With no theatrical films for nearly seven months, the FFI this time around also considered films which had straight-to-OTT releases in 2020. Eligibility criteria included a copy of the censor certificate and releases from October 1, 2019, to December 31, 2020.
Last year Aparna Sen-led FFI jury picked Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy as India’s pick for the Oscars. The film though didn’t make the shortlist. South Korea won its first Oscar for Parasite. The thriller went on to earn both Best Director (Bong Joon Ho) and Best Film nods, becoming the first foreign-language film to earn the distinction.
Traditionally held in last week of February, the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed back the 2021 ceremony by a few months to April 25.

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