The Malayalam film Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been chosen by the Film Federation of India as this year’s Oscar entry in the category of Best International Feature Film. Starring Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, and Sabumon Abdusamad in lead roles, the movie received critical acclaim upon its release last year on the 4th of October.
Jallikattu is based on a short story titled Maoist that was written by the writer S Hareesh and turned out to be the winner of several awards at film festivals all across the country. It was also screened at the Busan festival and the Toronto Film Festival. Named after the traditional sport of bull-taming, Jallikattu tells the story of a butcher losing control of the animal at a ritual slaughter. The movie was chosen out of a total of 27 films that also included Chhapaak, Shikara, The Sky is Pink, Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo-Sitabo, Gunjan Saxena, and AK vs AK.
This selection makes it the third Malayalam film to be selected as India’s entry for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category, previous ones being Guru (1997) and Adaminte Makan Abu (2011). India hasn’t really lucked out in the past few years in terms of making it to the Oscar shortlist. Till now, Mother India, Salaam Bombay, and Lagaan have been the only Indian films to get nominated for an Oscar.
Originally scheduled for February 28, 2021, the 93rd Academy Awards got postponed to April owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the closing of theatres and postponed film releases, both, the eligibility period and ceremony were postponed by two months.