The Malayalam movie, which has been directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, was shortlisted from 26 films.
Malayalam film Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards. Jallikattu is the third Malayalam film after Guru (1997) and Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) to be chosen as the country’s official entry for the Oscars.
“It is a great honour,” Lijo told The Hindu.
Jallikattu will certainly face stiff competition at the Oscars, but do not be surprised if it becomes the first Indian film to get that honour after Lagaan in 2001. Before that, Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988) had made the grade.
Based on writer S. Hareesh’s acclaimed story Maoist, the film that explores the human psyche follows a buffalo that escapes the butcher’s hold when he is about to slaughter it. The beast runs helter-skelter, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Before long, the entire village, located in the wild high ranges, is out to trap the elusive buffalo. With every mile that it covers, the buffalo unravels the animosities, the violence, and the selfish interests simmering beneath in the village, which is calm on its surface.
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Salim Ahamed, the director of Adaminte Makan Abu, believes Jallikattu could impress the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, who shortlist the films for the Oscars. “I think Jallikattu is the best film India has entered for the Oscars for a long time. Having seen most of the Oscar winners and the nominated films in this category, I feel Jallikattu has tremendous potential,” he said. He said that Jallikatttu was rooted to the Indian culture. “You can’t say that about many of the films that have been nominated in the past from India,” he said
The selection was made by a fourteen-member committee of the Film Federation of India, from a shortlist of 26 films, including Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo Sitabo, Chippa, Chhalaang, The Disciple, Shikara, Bittersweet, The Sky is Pink, Gunjan Saxena, Is Love Enough, Sir, Moothon, Kalira Atita, Bulbbul, Bhavai, AK Vs AK, Chhapaak, Bhonsle, Serious Men, I Pad, Kaamyaab, Chintu Ka Birthday, The Check Post, Eeb Allay Ooo, Bahattar Hoorian, Atkan Chatkan and Malang.
Jallikattu premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, garnering praise from critics. It was later screened at the Busan International Film Festival and a host of other major venues.
In 2019, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India’s entry to the Oscars.