The selection of Gully Boy has raised the question among netizens that why not Andhadhun, Tumbaad or Article 15 or the regional movies like Tamil movie Super Deluxe or Vada Chennai, Malayalam film And the Oskar Goes To and others.
The Film Federation of India (FFI) recently announced that it has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy as India’s official entry for the 92nd Academy Awards’ International Feature Film category. While there have been many congratulatory messages and tweets doing rounds on the social media, there are many Indian film-goers who are not happy with the selection.
There has been a mixed reaction towards the official nomination. Aparna Sen, the head of the jury which chose Gully Boy as India’s official entry to the Oscars declared, “The energy of the film was infectious. It will speak to the audience.” While the movie surpassed 26 other movies in contention to be India’s entry, it became the 33rd film in Hindi or Hindi-Urdu language out of the 51 films sent to Academy Awards since 1957.
The public reaction is mixed in the sense that they believe Gully Boy is a great movie on the hip-hop culture of India but the viewers feel that many other regional movies had better storyline and should have been given a chance to represent India on the international forum. According to FFI secretary general Supran Sen, 27 movies which were in the list of final selection for the nomination were considered and then Gully Boy was selected unanimously.
Directed by Zoya Akhtar the film features Bollywood heavyweights Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh and has been a blockbuster in the country and also received number of accolades like the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, South Korea and the Best Film at the Indian Festival of Melbourne this year. The film depicts a real-life scenario of Mumbai rappers Divine and Naezy, who began their journey in the hip-hop world from the economically weaker section of the city.
Another popular movie on the list was Tumbaad which was loved for its unique fictional storyline and good portrayal of the characters. But the movie was not selected due to its fictional storyline. The people who are unhappy with the selection have put forth their reasons that the storyline of the movie is not new to the international film industry and with other countries sending movies with unique and different storylines, the chances of Gully Boy winning Oscar becomes difficult. A few critics have explained that though it may not be the best movie of the year with many regional as well as mainline films surpassing it.
I liked #GullyBoy, but felt the complex universe that birthed DIVINE/Naezy was streamlined into an ultra-simple template.
But it's a solid choice. Oscar submissions aren't about THE BEST film but about a well-made film that checks some important boxes. https://t.co/eXTESgQF24
— Baradwaj Rangan (@baradwajrangan) September 21, 2019
GULLY BOY may not be the best film among the 28 movies shortlisted to be sent to the Oscars, but it’s a smart choice in terms of bolstering India’s chances. Crowd-pleasing, well-acted underdog story that won’t intimidate Academy audiences.
Also, I dare say, slums.
— Aniruddha Guha (@AniGuha) September 21, 2019
Absolutely loved Gully Boy. One of my favorite films of the year… but a little heartbroken that ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ isn’t going to the Oscars. Felt it would have almost definitely won. Such a masterpiece. One of the Indian films of the decade of not ‘the!’
— Rahul Ravindran (@23_rahulr) September 21, 2019
On a different note Moti Bagh, a documentary based on a farmer’s life from north-Indian state of Uttarakhand has been nominated for Oscar too. The film directed by Nirmal Chander is based on the life of a farmer named Vidyadutt from a remote village in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal region. The film shows the struggle of the 83-year old to keep his farm alive and till the uninhabited hilly lands. It also throws light on the issue of rural migration to look for better living which leaves the villages empty with no one to till the land.
Also Kamali, a short film, directed by Sasha Rainbow, a New Zealand-born filmmaker, based on the nine-year old Kamali Moorthy, the only girl surfer in her village in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and her single mother’s struggle to raise her daughter has also qualified for Oscars 2020.