MUMBAI: Now this is one controversy, which doesn’t seem to be dying out with time. Soon after Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya – The Royal Guard was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars; Dharm (another film which was contending) producer and director Sheetal and Bhavana Talwar lashed out at the jury for being biased.
On 25 September, the Film Federation of India announced Eklavya as the official Indian selection for the Oscar, Talwar alleged that the jury was corrupt and that Dharm should have been the one selected. The producers first accused Sudhir Mishra and now Ranjit Bahadur was the editor on the making of Eklavya and therefore prejudiced and should not have been on the jury.
An official statement from Vidhu Vinod Chopra says, “It is trade practices that making of films are outsourced to independent production houses who are at liberty to hire any technicians they please. Ranjit Bahadur has no direct association with Vinod Chopra Films.”
“While Ms. Talwar is accusing Ranjit of prejudice, she is overlooking the connection of Mr. Nadeem Khan and Vinod Chopra. They are batchmates from the Film and Television Institute of India, where they were close friends. Nadeem Khan was the cameraman on Vinod Chopra’s first film, Murder at Monkey Hill. The film won the National Award and Mr. Nadeem Khan was part of the celebration. Their professional collaboration continued. Nadeem Khan did additional camerawork on 1942: A Love Story. But Ms. Talwar is overlooking this because Nadeem Khan voted for her film,” the statement added.
It further added that the Hindi film industry is a close-knit space and most people, at some point, have crossed professional paths. “If Ms. Talwar had objections to this jury, she should have raised them before submitting her film so the jury could have been changed and new members found. But she went to the media only when her own film was not chosen.”
Chopra says, “Ms. Talwar is creating a controversy, which can only damage the Indian film industry’s reputation internationally. I am very sorry that this had happened.”
Dharm producer issues notice to Oscar jury