'Eklavya' nomination for Oscars opens Pandora's Box


By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, (IANS) A lot of people are unhappy with the jury's decision to send Vidhu Vinod Chopra's "Eklavya - The Royal Guard" as India's official entry to the Oscars this year. Directors like Anubhav Sinha, Suneel Darshan and jury member Nadeem Khan allege that the selectors were swayed by the filmmaker's lobbying and marketing.

Nadeem Khan: I think "Dharm" is the film that should've gone. For me this, and no other film, deserved to go to the Oscars. In fact, five votes went for "Dharm", six for "Eklavya". Just how it happened, I don't know. But as a jury member my conscience doesn't allow me to let this injustice go. Instead of letting the wrong film go to the Oscars, we need to go through the selection process again. Mr Vinod Chopra is my batch mate and I respect him. But something is seriously amiss here.Anubhav Sinha: It should definitely not be "Eklavya". Not even "Chak De! India" or "Dharm". Have we looked hard enough? I wonder if people selected to choose the film to represent the country have seen some of the films that ended up being nominated by the Academy in the past?

Manoj Bajpai: Though Vidhu Vinod Chopra is a brilliant filmmaker, I think "Dharm" or "1971" or any other superior film in any other language should've been considered with seriousness.

Aparna Sen: I haven't seen "Eklavya", so I can't say. But I'd like to see films like Buddadeb Dasgupta's "Kaal Purush" or Shahji Karun's "Piravi" or Arindam's "Hangman's Tale" being sent for the Oscars. Who says mainstream Hindi cinema is the only kind of cinema being made in India?

Satish Kaushik: I haven't seen "Eklavya" or "Dharm". But "Chak De! India" is a great piece of original cinema. It should've been the Oscar entry.

Sajid Khan: It shouldn't have been "Eklavya". That's all gloss, no soul. "Chak De! India" is my choice.

Suneel Darshan: With such a limited choice I guess the selection committee should've avoided nominating any film at all. Just goes to show that awards are all about lobbying and marketing. Vinod Chopra with his media clout surely has forged his way through.

Ananth Mahadevan: Every year, after a nomination for the Oscars is done, a debate erupts as to whether we have done the right thing...why? Is it because we are all guilty of throwing up another opportunity to represent our craft well? Or is it a gnawing feeling that we just don't have an entry that measures up to exacting international standards?

Victor Banerjee: I can neither approve of mediocrity, nor subscribe to hype.

Mahesh Bhatt: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.