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Film Federation Raises Serious Issues About India’s Oscar Entry

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Chhello Show

Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has  some grave reservations  about Pan Nalin’s Gujarati film Last Film Show (Chhello Show) being selected as India’s official entry for the Oscars.

 The   FWICE have observed that this year’s nomination of the film ‘Chhello Show’ as India’s Official Entry to the 95th Oscar Award is not as per the usual norms .The FWICE  questions the  film’s eligibility as they allege that  the film is  not  an Indian  production.

States  the FWICE, “We strongly feel that the selection process was not thoroughly followed. We have nothing against the producers and makers of the film which has been nominated but at the same time the real successors of this award cannot be left in dilemma.Official selection of an Indian film means produced by Indian companies. This year’s selection of Chhello Show seems questionable. This film is primarily produced by foreign studios and most of the crew is also from foreign countries. Its major producers Orange Studios are foreign studio.”

They  also claim that Chhello  Show is  an old film,available on a foreign  website  for  some years  now.  “This film has been on their site for few years. It’s only recently   some    Indian companies did a deal for this film for its Indian release. Does that qualify it as an Indian film? With that criterion, in the future any foreign production can tie up for distribution with an Indian company and call it an Indian film. Is it in the interest of Indian producers?”

Another  allegation  levelled  at  the  film  by the FWICE  is that  of plagiarism.

 Says  the  FWICE, “There are some very serious allegations against the film that it’s inspired/copied from Oscar winner Cinema Paradiso. And prima facie, if we look at the poster and synopsis there are uncanny similarities between both.  This is a very serious allegation because in the past (Gully Boys) India was humiliated when Oscar committee rejected that film as plagiarized from 8MM. Are we making the same mistake again because Oscar is very strict about the originality and even slightest of similarities disqualify a film. This is important for Indian Cinema’s honor, prestige and integrity.”

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 FWICE also  questions the  timeline  for Chhello Show’s   eligibility. “The film was premiered on June 2021. How is it qualified for 2022 films? What are the FFI’s rules? If this is the case then it’s not an equal opportunity competition and would be an injustice to the other successors of real Indian Films who are the real claimants of the Oscar selections.The chairman of the jury T S Nagabharana has given an official statement in Bombay Times that this film was also considered last year.  How is it possible for a film to enter twice? What is criterion for qualification? If it was even considered last year, why is it getting a second chance? This technicality has to be made clear and FFI must explain why this concession is given?We therefore are making an appeal to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to take serious note of this issue. We suggest that as this decision of nominating a film for Oscar constitutes the dignity of the Film Industry, the Ministry should take over the entire process of nominating the film and should not allow an organization to do so.”

An official  rejoinder from the  Film Federation of India which selects India’s  Oscar entry each year,  is awaited.

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