Shahrukh Khan's Paheli is India's entry to Oscars
The Hindi feature film Paheli directed by Amol Palekar has been selected as India's entry in the foreign films category at the Oscars.
A 10-member jury, headed by noted filmmaker Vinod Pandey, made the selection after week-long deliberations, Secretary of Film Federation of India Supran Sena said.
"I'm happy at the nomination of the film for the Oscars", said Palekar in Pune. The film is produced by actor Shah Rukh Khan who also plays the lead role in it. Rani Mukherjee is the other key actor in the movie.
Asked if he would go for lobbying which plays an important role in mobilising opinion in favour of a film at the Oscars, the director "it is not the lobbying but the subject matter of the film which is important."
Paheli beat 14 other films including Swades, Veer-Zaara, Black, Parineeta, Page 3, Iqbal, Mangal Pandey and Marathi film Uttarayan for the nomination, Sena said.
Paheli, which, according to Palekar deals with a "woman's right to make a choice", is a love story set in the picturesque locales of Rajasthan.
Paheli is based on the novel by leading Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha and the same book was reproduced on the celluloid by Mani Kaul several years back.
Palekar said when he narrated the script of Paheli to Shah Rukh, he liked it so much that he offered to produce it.
He said Shah Rukh is an "able producer" and "everything depends on him how he handles things in the run up to the Oscars.
The director said he and Shah Rukh would sit together and frame the strategy.
Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan starring Aamir Khan and Marathi film Shwaas were nominated for Oscars in the last few years but missed the eventual glory.
According to Palekar, Paheli, which also features Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Juhi Chawla, Suniel Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan, was completed in only 47 days.
Marathi film Shwaas, which was India's entry to the Oscars in 2004, could not live up to the hype generated.
Some of the earlier entries in the last few years include the Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan, directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas.
The following have been some of India's entries to the Oscars over the years: Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957), Guru Dutt's Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam (1963), Shyam Benegal's Ankur (1974) and Manthan (1978), Mahesh Bhatt's Saransh (1985).
Interestingly, directors of three of the last four Indian entries for the Oscars are from Maharashtra from where late Dadasaheb Phalke, pioneer of the Indian film industry hailed.