Lijo Pellissery directed Malyalam film Jallikattu has been chosen by the Film Federation of India jury as India’s representation at the Academy Awards, aka the Oscars.
There were 26 films in contention, including Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara, Netflix releases such as Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Bulbbul and Serious Men, Rohena Gera’s Is Love Enough, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Venice International Film Festival-winner The Disciple, Sir, Deepika Padukone-starrer Chhappak, Amazon Prime Video releases Shakuntala Devi, Chhlaang and Gulabo Sitabo.
The Film Federation of India jury, headed by filmmaker Rahul Rawail, picked Jallikattu because it was “a majority choice” of the 14-member jury. “It’s a film which shows human instincts are worse than (that of) animals. The unique ensemble of characters and the location, coupled with the technical and human aspects, it was the best from the package. It is a production to be proud of,” Rawail said.
Usually, the Oscars ceremony is held in the last week of February, but COVID-19 has pushed the next year’s programme to April 25.
For the first time, the selection of India’s official entry to Oscars was made via virtual mode. Since there were no theatrical films for nearly seven months, the jury also considered films that had straight-to-OTT releases in 2020. The only two conditions for OTT releases were that they should submit a copy of the censor certificate and the film should have released between October 1, 2019 and December 31.
Director of Jallikattu, Lijo Jose Pellissery, is also known for films like Angamaly Diaries and Ee Ma Yau. Jallikattu is a story of a chaotic day in the life of a village where a bull has run amok.
Last year, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy was India’s entry to the Oscars.