New Delhi Malayalam feature Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India’s official entry for the International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced on Wednesday.
Jallikattu, which was unanimously chosen from 27 entries across Hindi, Marathi and other languages, is about a tribe of men coming together to stop a bull that has run amok in their village.
“There were a total of 27 films that had entered the race from Hindi, Malayalam and Marathi. The film which has been nominated by the jury to represent India at Oscars is Malayalam film Jallikattu,” said Rahul Rawail, chairman, jury board, Film Federation of India in an online press conference.
“It is a film that really brings out the raw problems which are there in human beings, that is we are worse than animals,” he added.
The film, which derives its name from the popular-yet-controversial bull-taming event from the south, is based on a short story by Hareesh. It features actors Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran.
Among the films that were considered by the jury included titles such as Chhapaak, Shakuntala Devi, Chhalaang, Gulabo Sitabo, Eeb Allay Ooo!, The Sky is Pink, Bulbbul and the internationally-celebrated feature The Disciple.
Calling Pellissery a “very competent director”, who is known for several critically acclaimed films like Angamaly Diaries and Ea Ma Yau, Rawail said Jallikattu is a production that country should be proud of.
“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.
Jallikattu had its premiere on 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 also won the best director trophy at the 50th International Film Festival of India last year.
In 2019, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India’s official entry to the Oscars, but the film did not get shortlisted for nominations.
The last Indian film to get nominated in the category, earlier known as the Best Foreign Language Film, was Lagaan in 2002.
In the last few years, films like Village Rockstars, Newton, Court, Visaranai, Barfi, Indian, Peepli Live among others have been submitted for nominations, Indian Express said in a report.
The 2021 Academy Awards will be held on April 25 instead of the usual second Sunday of February.
(With inputs from PTI)