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Rima Das’s ‘Village Rockstars’ is India’s official entry for the Oscars

  • Published at 10:29 pm September 22nd, 2018
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'Village Rockstars' traces the story of Dhunu, a girl from a village in Assam who dreams of owning a guitar and forming a rock band

Rima Das’s Assamese film “Village Rockstars” has been selected as India’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars. A 12-member selection committee of the Film Federation of India, one of the country’s major trade bodies, announced the decision on Saturday after watching 28 entries.

The decision to select the film was unanimous, committee head and Kannada producer-director Rajendra Babu told the media at a press conference at the Indian Motion Picture Producer’s Association in Mumbai, where the deliberations were held. “We had a wonderful jury and wanted justice to be given for each film,” Babu said. “We used to see five films every day, discuss and started making a short list looking into all aspects like narration, screenplay and other aspects.”

The films under consideration included Meghna Gulzar’s “Raazi,” Siddharth Malhotra’s “Hichki,” Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat,” Tabrez Noorani’s human trafficking drama “Love Sonia,” Ashwin Nag’s Savitri biopic “Mahanati,” Chezhiyan’s Tamil drama “To-let,” Rahi Barve’s horror-thriller “Tumbbad,” Sukumar’s Telugu period film “Rangasthalam,” Rahul Bhole and Vinit Kanojia’s Gujarati film Reva and Deb Medhekar’s “Kabuliwala” adaptation “Bioscopewala.”

“Village Rockstars” traces the story of Dhunu, a girl from a village in Assam who dreams of owning a guitar and forming a rock band. Rima Das’s niece, Bhanita Das, plays Dhunu. The film has also been shot, edited and produced by Rima Das and will be released in theatres on September 28. It won the National Film Award for Best Film this year after doing the rounds of several prestigious international film festivals. This is the first Assamese film to be submitted for Oscars consideration.

Speaking to Scroll.in, Das said. “It’s the best day of my life. This is the first Assamese film selected. This is a very big thing for us. It will make a lot of difference for us. This kind of recognition, especially in India where so many films are made in so many different languages, is special.”

“Village Rockstars” was Das’s second film after “Antardrishti” (2016). Her latest film, “Bulbul Can Sing,” was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month. “Making this film (‘Village Rockstars’) was a total experiment for me,” Das said. “The journey thereafter has been quite unexpected. Getting awards and getting selected for festivals is a big thing of course but also, the way the audiences have responded to the film also has been unbelievable – such warmth and love.”

This article was first published on scroll.in and is being republished under special arrangement.

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