The Gujarati coming-of-age drama “Chhello Show,” about a young boy’s love affair with cinema in a village in Saurashtra, is India’s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India (FFI).
An exquisite masterpiece that received global critical acclaim and deserves to represent India in the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars 2023 is “Chhello Show” (Last Film Show), directed by Pan Nalin, who is best known for helming visually stunning and award-winning films like “Samsara,” “Valley of Flowers,” “Angry Indian Goddesses,” and “Ayurveda: Art of Being.”
Produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur’s banner Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP and Marc Duale, the film is a part-autobiographical drama that captures the charm of the western region of Gujarat while paying homage to the cinema of the past.
Having captured the hearts of critics and audiences across the world, the Gujarati-language coming-of-age drama “Chhello Show,” got a unanimous vote by the 17-member jury, as stated by FFI president TP Aggarwal. The other films which were said to be in the competition were “RRR,” “The Kashmir Files,” “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” “Brahmastra,” and “Rocketry,” among 13 other shortlisted films.
Director Pan Nalin, who is currently the talk of the town, expressed his excitement as took to Twitter and wrote,
Filmmaker TS Nagabharana, who chaired the Oscar selection committee, said that it was the ‘Indian-ness’ of the film that attracted the jury. He said,
“It was a unanimous decision. When the jury sat together, we all said ‘Chhello Show.” The film is about a child’s innocence and his dream. It gives you hope that if you chase a dream, it can come true. The film’s idea has universality all over the world. It is applicable to any child anywhere. We really liked how the film begins innovatively and ends with a hope.”
The film explores Indian cinemas going through a significant transformation from celluloid to digital, where hundreds of single-screen theatres stand dilapidated or are in decay. It draws inspiration from Nalin’s own memories of falling in love with movies as a child in rural Gujarat. Set in a remote rural village of Saurashtra, the film follows the story of a nine-year-old boy who begins a lifelong love affair with cinema when he bribes his way into a rundown movie palace and spends a summer watching movies from the projection booth. It is a reminder of childhood innocence and the universal magic of movies, ending with a flicker of hope at the end of the tunnel.
Watch the official trailer below:
“Chhello Show,” which features Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval, and Rahul Koli, had its world premiere as the opening film at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2021. It won multiple awards during its festival run, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain, where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical run. It also received a tremendous response from studios like Samuel Goldwyn Films in the USA, Orange Studios in France, Shochiku Films in Japan, etc.
Upon listening to the announcement, Pan Nalin felt euphoric and expressed his gratitude to the FFI and the selection jury. He said,
“I could have never imagined such a day would come and bring light and celebration of light. ‘Chhello Show’ has been enjoying love from around the world, but there was an ache in my heart. How do I make India discover it? Now I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens! Thank you, FFI. Thank you, Jury. “
Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur also shared his thoughts stating:
“We are thrilled and honoured that our film, Last Film Show has been selected to represent India at the Academy Awards. There could not be a more apt time for a film like this one, that celebrates the magic and wonder of cinema and the theatrical experience. When cinema-going around the world has been disrupted by a pandemic, it reminds audiences anew of the first time they fell in love with the experience of watching a movie in a darkened cinema hall. It is a matter of great pride for us to represent our country with this film, and with the backing of our partners Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio, we will make sure that we give it our best shot at the Academy Awards!”
The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023, in Los Angeles. “Chhello Show” will release in theatres in Gujarat and on selected screens across India next month, on October 14, 2022.
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