India has chosen Ban Nalin’s “Last Film Show” (“Chhello Show”) to represent the country in the best international category at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards, but that hasn’t gone down well in social media circles. This is due to the popularity and love of the historical epic, “RRR” by SS Rajamouli, which was a fan favorite and topped the US box office.
The good news is that the film’s American distributor has chosen to launch a full awards campaign for the action drama and invites the 10,000 Academy members to consider voting for the film in all categories.
‘RRR’ will be presented for Best Picture, Director (SS Rajamouli), Original Screenplay (Rajamouli and V. Vijayendra Prasad), Lead Actor (both NT Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan), Supporting Actor (Ajay Devgn), Supporting Actress (Alia Bhatt), original song (“Natto natto”), original music score (MMK Keravani), cinematography, production design, film editing, costume design, makeup and hairstyling, sound and visual effects.
The film is not yet available in the Academy Streaming Room, which is part of a strategy to get the largest number of voters to see it on the big screen in order to highlight its epic scope and stunning visuals.
“Over the past six months, we have witnessed the joy that SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ has brought to global audiences,” says Dylan Marchetti, President of Variance Films. “We have seen the film surpass $140 million worldwide to become one of the highest-grossing Hindi films of all time and become The first movie in history to go worldwide on Netflix for over 14 weeks. We’ve seen the film fill theaters with delighted audiences months after its initial release, including Hollywood’s historic TCL Chinese IMAX theater, which will screen next Friday to a selling audience from one of the nation’s largest theaters in no time. 15 minutes. Most importantly, we’ve heard fans from all over the world tell us that they think this is one of the best movies of the year from any country. We agree. We proudly invite the Academy to consider “RRR” in all categories. “
The three-hour action epic centers on two patriotic but philosophically opposing men (Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr.), who team up to rescue a girl from British colonial officials in Delhi in the 1920s. The film was a worldwide success with huge box office receipts, finding its way into the ethos of American culture as consumers discovered it on Netflix. The film, distributed by Variance Films in the United States, was one of the most popular titles of the year, and has become a popular topic on social media over the past few months.
With ₹ 240 crore (US$ 30 million) worldwide on its first day, ‘RRR’ broke the record for the biggest opening day ever achieved by an Indian film collectively.
Speaking in Telugu, it could have been the first Tollywood movie to enter the Oscar race, but politics can play a role in what the country has delivered over the years. In the history of the Oscars, only three Indian films were nominated for Best International Film – “Mother India” (1957), “Peace of Bombay!” (1988) and “Lagan” (2001), and no one won.
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen “Last Film Show,” a partially autobiographical drama set against the backdrop of Indian cinemas undergoing a massive transition from cinema to digital – a story that seems to fit the popular trend of humanity’s love of cinema with films like “The Fabelmans” and “Empire of Light” in the Oscars mix.
As we’ve seen at nearly every Academy Awards, it’s not always about “what’s the best” but rather “what they watched.” So India’s missteps of not choosing “The Lunchbox” (2013) or “The Disciple” (2020), which many assumed were “slam dunk” choices, fit in with their latest stride.
With the film out of the international nomination, the studio hopes that Academy voters will be tempted to check it out. Additionally, Variance Films hopes it can make waves as other non-English films that do not represent their countries, such as “City of God” (2003), which was nominated for directing, or last year’s “Parallel Mothers”, which snatched mentions of Penelope Cruz and the original score.
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