MUMBAI: Vidhu Vinod Chopra produced and directed movie Eklavya â€“ The Royal Guard has been voted as India’s official entry to the Oscars. This is the third time Chopra will be going to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The other films in the running for Yash Raj Films’ Chak De! India starring Shah Rukh Khan, Feroz Khan’s Gandhi My Father and Mani Ratnam’s Guru.
His short non-fiction film, An Encounter with Faces was one of the first Indian films to be nominated for an Oscar in 1980. In 1989, Parinda was sent to the Oscars as India’s official entry.
While last year, UTV Motion Pictures’ Rang De Basanti was the official entry to the Oscars, Chopra’s Lage Raho Munnabhai was sent as an independent entry for the same. However, none of the films managed to score at the awards.
Chopra said, “I’m elated by the new but this was only the first battle. The real one is still ahead. I’m leaving for the US on 2 October and will start my groundwork there. I’m banking on my previous experiences at the Academy and the overwhelming support the film has received in the West. I hope to make India proud.”
Eklavya â€“ The Royal Guard has already received accolades in Hollywood. The film got a standing ovation at the Billy Wilder Theater in UCLA, where it was recently screened as part of the India Splendour Film Festival. Robert L. Friedman, the former President of Columbia Pictures and AMC Theaters applauded it as one of the great foreign films to have graced Hollywood in recent years.
Friedman said, “The caring and most talented direction by Vidhu Vinod Chopra is worthy of maximum praise and awards. Mr. Chopra has created a masterpiece via this film, thanks to his genuine insight and love for his film vehicle. Eklavya is a movie that transcends all geographical boundaries â€“ a movie for all people, everywhere, it represents the very best that India’s great filmmaking community has to offer.”
Lionel Wigram, Producer of the Harry Potter films, said, “It’s a masterpiece and I can safely say that it stands an excellent chance of winning India a much awaited Oscar in the foreign film category.”
Jeffery Silver, Producer of the film 300, found it to be “a thriller that elevates to the level of art.”