‘How many Indian films have won an Oscar? Zero”, says FFI jury member on Sardar Udham-Oscars row

FFI jury member reacts to Sardar Udham-Oscars row: ‘How many Indian films have won an Oscar? Zero’

A few members of Film Federation of India (FFI) jury which select India’s official entry for the Academy Awards have responded to their co-jury member Indraadip Dasgupta’s latest remarks on why Sardar Udham didn’t get selected. Indraadip had said that the film, based on the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer by Sardar Udham Singh, projected ‘our hatred towards the British’ which he considered ‘unfair’ in the era of globalisation’.

Indraadip’s remark earned him and the jury a ton of flak on social media, with many calling it ‘imperialism hangover’ and ‘racism’. Currently, in a meeting with The Print, another jury member, Malayali filmmaker Shaji N Karun has responded to the row.

Shaji said that the Malayali movie Koozhangal was best of the lot. “For me, personally, choosing a film nomination for the Oscars is like strategising to win an Olympic match. The jury agreed that this film had great cinematic content, and has the strength, capability and contestability to win at the Oscars. This is not a National Award nomination. We have to pick a film that will stand out among nominations coming from 92 countries,” he said.

He added, “How many Indian films have won an Oscar? Zero. There’s a reason behind that. One has to strategise and pick a film we think will match the sensibilities of the jury at the Academy awards.” Bengali actress Ananya Chatterjee, likewise a member of the jury, considered Indraadip’s a ‘personal statement’.  “I can say this is not the opinion of all of us,” she said.

Indraadip Dasgupta had told a leading daily, “Sardar Udham is a little lengthy and harps on the Jallianwala Bagh incident. It is an honest effort to make a lavish film on an unsung hero of the Indian freedom struggle. But in the process, it again projects our hatred towards the British. In this era of globalization, it is not fair to hold on to this hatred.”

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