New York, Jan 16: Bollywood’s aspiration to win an Oscar received a blow, yet again, when India’s official entry to Oscars, `Eklavya, the Royal Guard`, failed to make it to the nine top movies for the prestigious best non-English language film category.
The news has come as a great disappointment for the millions of Bollywood-buffs in India and abroad. It is very likely that the report may once again stir the controversy which surrounded the film’s nomination to the Oscars. It had brought much speculation regarding lobbying and power-game in Bollywood.
The Amitabh Bachchan-starrer was among 63 entries from various countries but could not make it to the first shortlist.
The movie, which also stars Saif Ali Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan and Jackie Shroff, marked Chopra`s return to directing after seven years. His two other
films `Parinda` (1989) and a documentary `An Encounter with Faces` (1980) were also sent to the Oscars.
In the running for the five final nominations are Austria`s `The Counterfeiters`, Canada`s `Days of Darkness`, Israel`s `Beaufort`, Italy`s `The Unknown Woman`, Kazakhstan`s
`Mongol`, Poland`s `Katyn`, Russia`s `12`, Brazil`s `The Year My Parents Went on Vacation`, and Serbia`s `The Trap.` The award ceremony will be held on Feb 24.
Earlier, the selection of Eklavya had landed up in the court as Bhavana Talwar, whose film Dharm was one of the short-listed movies by the FFI jury, filed a petition alleging bias.
In particular, Talwar`s lawyer alleged that Ranjit Bahadur, one of the jury member, had been editor of promotional films of both `Eklavya`, as well as Chopra-produced blockbuster `Lage Raho Munnabhai`.
Finally, the FFI remained firm on `Eklavya` as its choice for Oscars and Talwar bowed out of the Oscar battle stating that since the deadline for sending the entry had passed, she would not like to play "spoilsport" but wished that in future the selection procedure would become more transparent.