India’s official entry to the 95th Academy Awards was announced Tuesday evening and the Gujarati film Last Film Show (Chhello Show) was named as the official entry to the Best International Feature Film category. Directed by Pan Nalin, the film is a part-autobiographical drama about the charm of the Indian state of Gujarat, It is also a homage to the cinema of the past. The film stars Vikas Bata, Bhavin Rabari, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval, Bhavesh Shrimali and Rahul Koli.
Nalin is best known for directing films such as Samsara, Valley of Flowers, Angry Indian Goddesses and Ayurveda: Art of Being. Last Film Show had its world premiere as the opening film at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival. It has won several awards including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain.
The elated director tweeted and shared his happiness with fans.
The film is slated for a theatrical release on October 14. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio serve as international distributors for the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Meanwhile, legendary Shochiku Studios serves as the Japanese distributor, while Medusa will bring Last Film Show to Italian cinemas. The film is produced by Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP, and Marc Duale.
Prior to the announcement Tuesday evening, the most talked-about Indian films considered in the race to the official entry to the Oscars were SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files. Rajamouli’s film was a historical drama about two Indian friends during the British rule in India. It had Rajamouli trademark visual appeal and boasted Indian traditions. The film also received widespread appreciation outside India.
Agnihotri’s movie, on the other hand, chronicled the events building up to the genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Indian valley of Kashmir in 1990. The film was not mounted on a budget or production as huge as RRR, but it grew popular with time and also received critical acclaimed outside of India. The filmmaker also tweeted his wishes for Nalin.
Many film scholars and journalists believe that RRR could have been a better bet at the Oscars for India. Political debates surrounded The Kashmir Files, but RRR was perhaps a better bet in terms of the international reach that the film already has.