Even with the massive popularity that SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files enjoyed; both films got snubbed as India’s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards 2022. From industry people to trade members, everyone was convinced that India will be represented by one of these films. Turns out, the official selection is different from the predictions. This year, the Film Federation picked the Gujarati movie, Chhello Show (Last Film Show).
The announcement was made on Tuesday. The film stars Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval and Rahul Koli. The story is set against the backdrop of cinemas in India witnessing a massive transition from celluloid to digital, where hundreds of single-screen cinemas stand dilapidated or have disappeared altogether. The film has its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in 2021. It has also won the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid International Film Festival in 2021.
Director Pan Nalin says, “I could have never imagined such a day would come and bring light and celebration of light. Chhello Show has been enjoying love from around the world but there was an ache in my heart that how do I make India discover it? Now I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens! Thank you FFI, Thank you Jury.”
Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur says, “We are thrilled and honoured that our film, Last Film Show has been selected to represent India at the Academy Awards. There could not be a more apt time for a film like this one, that celebrates the magic and wonder of cinema and the theatrical experience. When cinema-going around the world has been disrupted by a pandemic, it reminds audiences anew of the first time they fell in love with the experience of watching a movie in a darkened cinema hall. It is a matter of great pride for us to represent our country with this film, and with the backing of our partners Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio, we will make sure that we give it our best shot at the Academy Awards!”
Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio serve as international distributors for the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Meanwhile, legendary Shochiku Studios serves as the Japanese distributor, while the esteemed Medusa will bring the Last Film Show (Chhello Show) to Italian cinemas.
Having captured the hearts of critics and audiences across the world the Gujarati-language coming-of-age drama will release in theatres in Gujarat and on select screens across India on 14th October 2022. The film is produced by Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP, and Marc Duale.
The committee, which was headed by Kannada director TS Nagabharana, got together in Chennai a few days ago in order to see the submissions. Reports state that contesters included SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files, Sajimon Prabhakar’s Malayankunju and Rahul Sankrityan’s Shyam Singha Roy.
In 2021, the Tamil film Koozhangal (Pebbles), which was helmed by filmmaker Vinothraj PS, was India’s official entry in the Best International Feature Film category. However, the film wasn’t shortlisted. Indian documentary feature Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, officially bagged a nomination at the 94th Academy Awards 2021. Unfortunately, the documentary didn’t win and lost against Summer Of Soul.
So far the last Indian movie to have made it to the top five in the Best International Feature category were Mother India (1958), Salaam Bombay (1989) and Lagaan (2001).