Mumbai: Filmmaker Rahul Rawail on Thursday accused panel chairperson Amol Palekar of having an agenda not to let ‘Court’ be selected as India's official entry for the Oscars, but yet wanting to be the "hero" behind its eventually selection.
"Our chairman Amol Palekar had only one agenda right from the beginning that 'Court' shouldn't come. He was very adamant that somehow 'Court' be removed. I don't know the reason behind this but it is true. You can ask anyone else in the jury about it and they'll say that it is correct," said Rawail in a press conference to provide his version in the controversy.
"The thing he is saying that Rahul Rawail resigned after 'Court' was selected is wrong. And that I resigned because he wasn't happy with 'Court'. But I resigned before the last vote."
When the panel brought it down to the four best films, a poll was conducted where Rawail claims that Palekar manipulated the votes by saying the 'Court' stood last tied along with another film. When a cross-check was done, it was revealed that 'Court' had stood second in the votes and not last as earlier claimed.
Rawail also said that Palekar constantly tried to push 'Court' out of contention by saying that it had a substantial amount of dialogues in English, a criteria considered by the Academy Awards committee. Palekar's claims about this weren't true and didn't convince the other jury members, held Rawail.
During the jury voting, there was constantly a tie between the last two films 'Court' and another one, where Palekar even suggested tossing the coin to resolve the impasse. Rawail thought this was ridiculous and considered resigning from the post so that the impasse is solved. When that didn't resolve and it was Palekar's turn to put in his vote, he shocked everyone with a u-turn, he alleged.
Rawail said: "He doesn't like the film and he has attempted at every step to remove 'Court'. But then during the voting time, he eventually voted for 'Court'. All were surprised with this decision. A person who was trying since 8 days so that 'Court' doesn't come, suddenly voted for 'Court'. Amol wants to give an impression that he is the hero of 'Court', by portraying that he pushed it up."
Rawail claimed that Palekar's wife also sat for the screening and would tell the members that a particular film was good and to consider aspects like photography of a film. She had even termed 'Court' a horrible picture. Rawail claims that she didn't have the right to do so and as chairman, Amol should've stopped this.
National Award winning film ‘Court’ directed by Chaitanya Tamhane was selected on Wednesday as India's official entry to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film.