Director Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy”, featuring Ranveer Singh in the lead, has been selected as India’s official entry in the International Feature Film group at the 92nd Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India announced . The movie, which released commercially across the country in February this year, also features Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma and Amruta Subhash.
Aparna Sen, the head of the jury which picked Gully Boy as India’s Official Entry to the Oscars, seems to agree with me. “The energy of the film was infectious. It will speak to the audience,” the director Zoya Akhtar declared. The announcement re-invigorated the hype around the film while it was business as usual for the affair between Indian cinema and the Oscars. Out of the 51 films we have sent to the Academy for consideration since 1957, 32 have been in Hindi or Hindi-Urdu, with Gully Boy making it the 33rd such filing.
A total of 27 films were in contention to be India’s entry to the 2020 Oscars, including the Tamil film Super Deluxe. Released with an anticipation and hype akin to Gully Boy, the film marked one of the boldest Indian film-making experiments, for me. Director Thiagarajan Kumararaja collaborated on the screenplay with three prominent directors — Nalan Kumarasamy, Mysskin, and Neelan K Sekhar — to craft a slice of life, black comedy which joined a joyful nihilism with intense philosophical and social broodings.
FFI president Firdausul Hasan said the screening process for the Oscar selection started on Monday and ended on Saturday, revealing that apart from Gully Boy, other Bollywood films competing for the Oscar entry were Badhaai Ho, Andhadhun, Article 15, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Badla, Kesari and The Tashkent Files.
Soon after the announcement, the cast and crew of film and fans took to social media to laud the choice, making #ApnaTimeAayega as one of the top trends. However, many were disappointed with the choice and thought other films would have been a better choice.
While one of the users wrote, “Kinda disappointed with our Oscar entry. Gully boy is a good movie but other shortlisted films like kesari, badla, andhadhun and article 15 were much better IMO (In my opinion) (thus used).” Another tweeted, “With films like #andhadhun and #article15 in the contention I don’t why exactly was GullyBoy nominated. Not that it was bad but personally I think the other two were better. Gully Boy is a fantastic film in itself. Anyhow congratulations team #GullyBoy and make India proud (thus used).”
One of the users pointed out, “Why din’t they send Article 15 or Andhadhun . Gully Boy is 8 mile rip off and 8 mile has already won Oscars (Sic).”