As we reported earlier Eklavya: the Royal Guard has been chosen as the official selection for India to go to the Oscars. This is a very controversial choice especially since the film directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra flopped at the box office. Well now a film director has taken his outrage to the courts.
Bhavna Talwar has filed a petition in the court saying that there was favoritism shown in the selection process. “How long can we take the politicization of our Oscar entries?” he said.
The court petition states: “The entire selection process was biased and vitiated on account of the strong affiliation between certain members of the selection committee and Mr. Chopra.” And it claims that Sudhir Mishra, a member of the selection committee, and Chopra are very good friends and this led to the selection of his film.
Talwar’s film Dharm was also on the short list for the honor and lost by only 1 vote to Eklayva. Dharm was screened this year at the Cannes FIlm Festival but it too did not do so well at the box office.
Other films on the list included Feroz Abbas Khan’s Gandhi My Father, and the super hits Shimit Amin’s Chak De! India, Mani Ratnam’s Guru.
Film producer Pahlaj Nihalani said of the choice to send Eklayva,”It’s a shameful decision. I think the so-called jury doesn’t know what it’s doing.”
Chopra has spoken out in the press defending the decision and says that the controversy will harm the reputation of the Hindi film industry as a whole.
Other members of the selection committee were director Anil Sharma, cinematographer Nadeem Khan and filmmaker Vindo Pande. Pande said that there were many factors that they based their selection on and that he felt they made a “wise decision.”
October 10th is the date the courts have set to determine if the case can go forward.