The Gujarati drama Chhello Show (Last Film Show), directed by Pan Nalin, has been selected by the Film Federation of India as India’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category of the 95th Academy Awards. Suparn Sen, the secretary general of FFI, delivered the announcement on Tuesday following the jury’s deliberations, which were presided over by veteran Kannada filmmaker T.S. Nagabharana.
The coming-of-age tale of a young kid growing up in a Saurashtra village praises the beauty of cinema while serving as a reminder of childhood innocence. The story is set against the backdrop of India’s cinemas experiencing a massive transition from celluloid to digital, where hundreds of single-screen theatres stand dilapidated or have completely vanished. It stars Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval, and Rahul Koli.
The Chhello Show had its world premiere as the opening film at the Tribeca Film Festival and went on to win numerous prizes at other international film festivals, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain, where it also had commercial success during its run in theatres.
Nalin, who is known for directing visually stunning movies like Samsara, Valley of Flowers, and Angry Indian Goddesses, thanked the FFI and the jury and added, “I could have never thought such a day would come and bring light and celebration of light. Although Chhello Show has received praise from all across the world, I was left wondering how I could get India to know about it. Now that I believe in movies that entertain, inspire, and enlighten, I can breathe again. ”
The movie defeated S.S., who presented fierce competition. RRR by Rajamouli, The Kashmir Files by Vivek Agnihotri, Malayankunju by Sajimon Prabhakar, and Shyam Singha Roy by Rahul Sankrityan.
This is the second Gujarati movie to be selected for the prestigious honours, the first being The Good Road in 2013. Vinothraj PS’s Tamil drama Koozhangal (Pebbles), which was India’s official entry for the Oscars last year, didn’t make the shortlist.
Lagaan, directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, was the last Indian movie to advance to the top five in 2001.