September 24th, 2016 | Updated on September 30th, 2016
Visaranai, the Tamil docu-drama crime thriller, has been chosen India’s official entry to compete for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 89th Academy Awards to be held in 2017.
First, let’s take a peek at the trailer of this movie:
The film is based on the lives of four migrant workers in Tamil Nadu who are accused of a crime they have not committed. This leads to them being enmeshed in a web of crime and politics and finally they are killed in an encounter. The film premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival and released in India in February earlier this year. The critically-acclaimed film has won three National Awards including best Tamil film.
India hasn’t had a film which has made it to the top 5 films at the Oscars since 2001, can Visaarani change that? We’ll have to wait and watch.
Now, let’s reveal to you some facts that you didn’t know about the movie:
Visaranai is adapted from M Chandrakumar’s novel Lock Up, and is about police brutality, corruption, and loss of innocence in the face of injustice.
The national award-winning film is directed by Vetrimaran and produced by actor Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films
The movie was chosen out of 29 contenders which included ‘Sairat’, ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Neerja’.
The last Tamil movie that made it to the list as official entry to the Oscars was Hey Ram, directed by, and starring Kamal Haasan.
It is the ninth Tamil film to have been chosen as a hopeful to bring the Oscar statuette to India. It won the Amnesty International Italia Award at the 72nd Venice Film Festival.
Now, let’s look back at some of the entries from India for the Oscars:
2002: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas was thought to be India’s best bet at the Oscars. It was selected by the Cannes jury for a special screening. This adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay starred Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit as the three principal characters. The opulent sets couldn’t hide the over-dramatic nature of Bhansali’s film. Many thought it wasn’t the right choice as India’s best film.
2004: Sandeep Sawant’s Shwaas was chosen to be India’s entry for the Best Foreign Film category. The film follows the relationship of an old man and his grandson, and tells the story of the child’s last day before he loses his sight after an operation. Shwaas was almost unanimously called the best film from India that year.
2005: Shah Rukh Khan’s big gamble with Amol Palekar was the biggest box office disaster of the year. However, as the makers might have predicted redemption with the selection as India’s entry to the Oscars, it created a furore in the media since many thought even the film had an interesting concept at its core, it just wasn’t the best representative for Indian cinema that year.
2006: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti took the country by storm and was pronounced the most entertaining film of the year. Telling the story of a bunch of youngsters who find a connect with their pre-independence revolutionaries, while growing a conscience of their own, Rang De Basanti struck a chord with Bollywood fans. It however, wasn’t successful in getting a nomination.
2007: Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya: The Royal Guard was chosen to represent Indian cinema, which was surprising because it wasn’t be best reviewed film in Bollywood, let alone regional cinema put together. The director/producer had a public altercation with Farah Khan who didn’t think Eklavya was the right choice.
2008: Amole Gupte’s Taare Zameen Par was one of the landscape-changing films in the decade which brought conversation about dyslexia out in the living room. Solidly directed by Aamir Khan, who also plays a significant character in the film, he carries the film preserving the conscience of Gupte’s honest script. The film was submitted as India’s entry and couldn’t make it to the nomination’s list.
2009: Paresh Mokashi’s stellar debut with Harishchandrachi Factory follows the tale of the making of India’s first film by father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke. The film was a comical and emotional take on the beginning of India’s film industry. It was the second Marathi movie to be sent as an entry after 2004’s Shwaas.
2010: Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live backed by Aamir Khan, was chosen to be India’s entry for the Oscars. The film was a satirical take on farmer suicides and was Aamir Khan’s fourth stab at the Oscars best foreign film category.
2011: Malayalam film Abu, son of Adam was chosen to be India’s entry for the Oscars. Salim Ahamed’s directorial debut focuses on the life of an attar-seller whose only wish in life is to do the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The film follows his struggles.
2012: Barfi, directed by Anurag Basu and starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra was well-liked till it was announced as India’s entry to the Oscars. That’s when all the skeletons began falling out of the closet citing plagiarism. Anurag Basu was accused of lifting the script from multiple movies and making a mish-mash, while the director maintained he was merely paying homage to his favourite movies.
2013: Selected as the best Gujarati film of the year, Good Road was selected as India’s entry for the Oscars quite surprisingly ahead of Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox. The latter had gotten shining reviews all across the west, and was backed by three of the biggest production houses of the country. The audiences also admired the restraint in the film. However, Good Road was selected which didn’t make the final five.
2014: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Liar’s Dice was submitted as India’s entry for the Oscars. The funny thing was hardly anyone had seen the film in India itself, it wasn’t a big surprise that the film vanished quickly after submission.
2015: Chaitanya Tamahane’s debut feature Court tore the envelope for Indian cinema by documenting the drudgeries of India’s judicial system with a keen, observant eye. The film took MAMI by storm and widely considered a strong contender. Hoewever, the film didn”t make it to the final five.
Sources: Economics Times, The Hindu, India Today, IndiaGlitz