Chhello Show or the Last Film Show, a Gujarati film that is India’s official entry to the Oscars this year, celebrates childhood and the joys and wonder of discovering new things. However, the Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) and the Federation of West Indian Film Employees (FWICE) demanded that the film’s selection for the Oscars be reversed and claimed that it is a copy of the Italian film Cinema Paradiso (1988), which won an Oscar in the category of best international feature film.
In an interview to indianexpress.com, the producer of the film Siddharth Roy Kapur responds to the IFTDA and FWICE allegations and shares the timeline of his association with the film. Kapoor also discusses how he is planning the film’s promotional campaign for Academy members.
Reacting to Chhello Show being called a copy of Italian film Cinema Paradiso, Siddharth Roy Kapur said, “I think we have to look to the future since we are representing India now and have been selected by the Film Federation of India (FFI). . It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of representing our country. Cinema is such a subjective medium, and everyone is going to have an opinion about it, nothing is black or white. There is a jury that was formed and they chose us. We will do our best to bring glory to the country, that is where I would like to leave it. It’s a free country and everyone has a right to an opinion. We’re passionate people and movies are a passionate business, so I think it’s only right that people have passions when they believe in one movie over another, there’s really nothing wrong with that.”
Siddharth watched the film long before it was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars this year, and he wants everyone to see the film and fall in love with cinema all over again.
He says, “After Nalin shot the film, I got a chance to watch it and fell in love with it. I am sure the audience will fall in love with it too. The journey from there was really about distributing the film in India. We announced the release date of the film on 14th October and we were really lucky to be selected as India’s official selection a few weeks earlier, which makes us create as much curiosity as possible with the Indian audience with everyone wanting to know what this film is about. ».
Kapoor has been associated with films such as Peepli Live (2010) and Barfi (2012), which have been selected as India’s official entries to the Oscars. Kapur, here shares a timeline of his association with director Pan Nalin and elaborates on the campaign to promote the Bhavin Rabari starrer in the West and his Oscar preparations.
“I have been fortunate to be a part of many films that have been the official choice of India over the past decade. A lot of people talk about lobbying and make it sound like some deep dark secret and a lot of smoke and mirrors, but really it’s about getting as many Academy members as possible to watch your film. It really boils down to this. Because they are the ones who will vote for you and they are the ones who should see your film. We are very proud of the film we represent and we are happy that our film speaks for itself,” shares Kapur.
Revealing details about his partners who will represent his film in the United States of America and Europe, Kapur shares, “Our main aim will be to get as many members of the academy as possible to watch the film. We have some of the best people representing us. We have Samuel Goldwyn Films in the US and Orange Studio in Europe. Between the two of them, they will be able to help get the message out in the best possible way.”
Kapur is excited to distribute Chhello Show in India as it celebrates the magic of movies. “All over the world, we started talking about giving the audience a theatrical experience, a cinematic experience, to bring it back to the movie theater. The Chhello Show truly celebrates the cinematic experience and I don’t think there will be a more appropriate time for a film like this than now. We make people aware once again, remind them how they fell in love with movies in dark cinemas in the beginning. So while the star system exists, many of the recent films attract audiences because of the narrative value and the fact that they are so cinematic. I think Chhello Show is one of those films that once you see it, you’ll know there’s nowhere else to see it except in a cinema hall,” concludes Kapur.
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