Jury members Rajendra Talak, Archan Trivedi say that Gully Boy got maximum votes, but the former also called for a change in selection process, wants government, Film Federation of India to back films with strong content
By Mayur Lookhar
Apna Time Aayega (Our time will come), but not this year. Another year goes by as an Indian film failed to make it to the Oscars nomination. Director Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy  starring Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt has failed to make it to the list of 10 Best foreign language films at the Oscars. The final nomination list will be down to five. The Film Federation of India and the Aparna Sen-led jury is copping criticism for its choice.
Back in September, Aparna Sen was quoted as saying that the best film to represent India at the Oscars was done through a ‘democratic’ process. However, even then netizens had voiced their concerns over the jury’s choice. Besides, the film had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival but it didn’t win any award there. With Gully Boy missing the Oscar bus, Twitter is flooded with comments condemning the jury choice.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, whose The Tashkent Files  was also in consideration, took a cheeky dig at Aparna Sen.
“Don’t take it to your heart. Every rejection must make you stronger. When Aparna Sen’s jury rejected #TheTashkentFiles and opted to send #GullyBoys for the Oscars, we came out stronger and more committed to tell the truth. Right to Truth,” tweeted Agnihotri.
A filmmaker whose film was also in consideration, said on condition of anonymity, ” While I don’t want to question the jury, but shortly after Gully Boy was selected, I came to know that one of the reasons why Gully Boy was picked was that the jury felt that the Bollywood film held an edge over others in terms of its marketing ability. “
Gully Boy is an underdog story of street rapper Murad [Ranveer Singh]. The Indian film is said to be inspired by the story of rap artistes Naezy and Divine. The film’s plot also drew parallel with American hip hop drama 8 Mile .
“This is what happens when you choose to send a commercial plagiarized movie over authentic regional movies for the Oscars #GullyBoy,” tweeted one netizen Akansha.
Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel, too, mocked the jury for picking a film that doesn’t have an original plot.
This film is based on Hollywood film 8 Mile, yahan ke movie mafia chatukar critics ke chaatne se kya hota hai, it’s not original content like Uri and Manikarnika, why Hollywood will give award to a film which is copied from their film ? pic.twitter.com/vSVeVHVaUB
— Rangoli Chandel (@Rangoli_A) December 17, 2019
Veteran Gujarati actor Archan Trivedi, who was part of the Film Federation of India appointed jury, told us that Gully Boy was the unanimous choice. Was the issue of Gully Boy perhaps not being an original story considered by the jury? “I don’t know that [inspired from 8 Mile] but what I can tell Gully Boy got the maximum votes.
Filmmaker and jury member Rajendra Talak too seconded Trivedi’s view.
“The choice was down to three films Gully Boy, Priyanka Chopra produced Pahuna and Super Deluxe. Gully Boy got the maximum votes. Everyone has their personal views, but majority wins,” said Talak.
However, Talak called for a change in selection process, selection of jury and urged the government, film industry to help promote a small film in international markets.
“If Oscars are important, then I’d request the Film Federation of India and the government to take care of publicity of a [small] film,” Talak opined.
One disgruntled netizen labelled the jury choice as the work of Leftist mafia.
#GullyBoy 8 mile rip off shud not have been even sent in first place. Am glad Oscars didn’t fall into the trap of the Corrupt Leftist Mafia of Bollywood who hype every damn thing that is made by their coterie while overlooking far better n relevant work done by others.
— Maya (@IamMayaSharma) December 17, 2019
It is not the first time that an Indian film sent for Oscars has been accused of being a rip off. In 2017, the Rajkummar Rao-starrer Newton, too, was inspired by Babak Payami’s Irani film The Secret Ballot .
One writer, columnist Asjad Nazir posted, “I wrote in my column in September India entry #GullyBoy doesn’t stand a chance at Oscars because it is not original (see photo). I was right and it is out of Oscars race. In 2017 they also sent an obviously plagiarised film with Newton,”
I wrote in my column in September India entry #GullyBoy doesn’t stand a chance at Oscars because it is not original (see photo). I was right and it is out of Oscars race. In 2017 they also sent an obviously plagiarised film with Newton. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/gV63oj7L9s
— Asjad Nazir (@asjadnazir) December 17, 2019