Lage Raho Munnabhai at the Oscars too

MUMBAI: After the selection of Rang De Basanti as the official entry from India for the Best Foreign Film Category at the Oscars by the Indian film industry’s apex body – Film Federation of India (FFI); the makers of Lage Raho Munnabhai are now routing their film to the Oscars as an independent entry.

Judging by the global appeal of the film courtesy the presence of an international figure – Mahatma Gandhi – as one of the principal characters of the film, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has opted to send Lage Raho Munnabhai to the Oscars as an entry from the US, thus applying independently like Morning Raga, which had obtained a backdoor entry last year after Paheli was sent as the official entry.

Ken Naz of Eros International, USA is in the process of preparing the relevant documents to apply for the film’s entry at the Oscars.

The film will thus be entered in the main category (Best Film) and will be eligible for all possible awards after the Oscar committee okays its selection as being a film with good production values.

Speaking on his decision to send the film independently, Chopra says, “The record number of fan mails that we have received worldwide have supported our belief and inspired us to go ahead with sending the film across to the Academy as an independent entry. We strongly believe that Lage Raho Munnabhai is a film that should be screened at all international film festivals.”

An invitation extended to the makers by the University of Southern California (USC) for a special screening of Lage Raho Munnabhai on 27 October 2006 organized for their cinema students and the Hollywood press has further strengthened Chopra’s resolve to send the film as an independent entry in the main category of the Oscars. USC is one of the top film schools in North America. Many notable filmmakers including George Lucas, Ron Howard, James Ivory and Walter Salles among others have graduated from USC.

Lage Raho Munnabhai, which is a sequel to Munnabhai M.B.B.S., stars Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan.

Related story:
Rang De Basanti is India’s entry for Oscars