Village Rockstars, which was shot on a handheld camera and with a shoe-string budget in rural Assam, has been declared the official contender for Oscars 2019 in The Best Foreign Language Film category.
29 films from Indian including Raazi, Padmaavat, Hichki, October, Love Sonia, Gulabjaam, Mahanati, Pihu, Kadvi Hawa, Bhogda, Revaa, Bioscopewala, Manto, 102 Not Out, Padman, Bhayanakam, Ajji, Nude, Gali Guliiyan were submitted as nominations, but it was Village Rockstars who made it to the top.
The credits of the Assamese film Village Rockstars are proof of director Rima Das’s commitment to bringing the story of a 10-year-old girl who yearns for an electric guitar to the screen.
Rima Das’s debut feature was self-funded, but she has extended herself for her second production by taking charge of most of the major filmmaking departments.
Village Rockstars has been written, directed, produced, shot and designed by Das. “It is a positive story about hope and desire, and children bring positivity,” said the filmmaker.
Shot over nearly three years since 2014 over 150 days, Village Rockstars was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and will be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival (October 12-18).
Starring Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Kulada Bhattyacharya, Manabendra Das and Boloram Das, Village Rockstars is woven around Dhunu’s pursuit of an electric guitar in Assam’s Chhayagaon village.
For the 2018 Oscars, Newton had been pitched for the top honour. However, the film failed to make the cut. In fact, it did not even make it to the list of the final nine films picked for the voting round.
As far as India is concerned, only three films until now have made it till the last round and were, as a result, nominated in the foreign language film category, Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).
The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to be held on February 24, 2019.
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