Ravi Rai to send ‘Tingya’ for Oscars, seeks government help

September 22nd, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 22 (IANS) Producer Ravi Rai has decided to send his Marathi movie “Tingya” as an independent entry for the Oscars in the best foreign language film category. He said he would approach the Maharashtra government to help promote it at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for getting nominated for the coveted trophy. “Although I’m not a big producer, I’ll do all I can to get my film nominated. I’ll approach the state government to promote it among the 20-member Executive Committee of the Academy. ‘Tingya’ is a sensitive portrayal of the life in rural Maharashtra against the backdrop of the recent farmland crises,” Rai told IANS.

Rai also said he had nothing against the decision of the Film Federation of India (FFI) selecting Aamir Khan’s directorial debut “Taare Zameen Par” as India’s official entry for Oscar.

“All the nine films that were submitted to FFI this year were outstanding and deserving. ‘Taare Zameen Par’, particularly, is my personal favourite. The jury must have had a tough time in choosing the better one among the best. Finally, it selected the most deserving one for the honour,” he said.

However, he felt that his own production “Tingya”, an internationally lauded movie, deserves to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Award.

“Since the FFI jury already chose the India’s official entry, I decided to take my film to the Oscars in my personal capacity,” he said.

Rai, however, expressed his displeasure at the FFI jury’s observation that “Tingya” lacked “technical finesse”. Directed by debutant Mangesh Hadawale, “Tingya,” has so far bagged 37 awards, including five international trophies.

“I feel film’s soul and spirit play important role when it vies for an award. I can name dozen films which are short of technical finesse, but won international awards. Besides, it is improper to draw comparisons between the technical quality of a Rs.2.7 million film against a mega-budget film like “Taare Zameen Par,” said Rai who made serials like “Sailaab”, “Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai”, “Sparsh” and “Teacher”.

Responding to Rai’s decision, FFI secretary, Suparn Sen, said that the film body has no objection if a filmmaker sends his film for Academy’s nomination independently in the “general category”.

“FFI selects India’s official entry under ‘Special Category’ as it represents the country,” he said.

The Academy’s “one-country-one-film” rule for the Best Foreign Language Film Award has, in fact, been criticised by major non-English speaking filmmaking countries as they find it difficult to choose one from a large body of work produced annually, unlike smaller countries where only a few films are made.

Last year, France had to select “Persepolis” against an equally acclaimed movie “La Vie en Rose”, which eventually won Marion Cotillard the best actress Oscar.

Out of a huge number of entries received by the Academy for Best Foreign Language Film category, only five movies are finally nominated.

So far, only two Indian entries, Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India” (1957) and Aamir Khan’s “Lagaan” (2001) were nominated for the award.

Canada-based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s Hindi movie, “Water,” which got a nomination in 2006, was actually a Canadian entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Award category.

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