Every year with much excitement, India sends its official entry to the Oscars. Sadly, till date we've not been able to bring back Oscar glory. However, this year's official entry to the 88th annual Academy Awards, Court, seems like it could be a game changer for India.
Court takes a dig at the painfully slow Indian judicial system. The story of a folk singer, Narayan Kamble, the movie is a strong portrayal of how a common man ends up wasting years, and sometimes even his whole life, awaiting justice, thanks to colonial laws, lack of a speedy trial system and dearth of judges in our country.
Here is why we think the movie is India's best shot at Oscar glory:
1. It won the Best Feature Film Award at the National Film Awards
Court won the Best Feature Film award at the 62nd National Film Awards. The film was also honoured with 18 other awards at film festivals in Mumbai, Vienna, Antalya, and Singapore.
2. It left behind both commercially successful films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Piku, and critically acclaimed movies like Haider and Masaan to make the cut.
Court ran ahead of 30 entries to be India's official entry to the Oscars. It beat commercially successful films like Baahubali, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Piku , NH 10 and other films on social issues like Neeraj Ghyaywan’s Cannes winner Masaan and Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider.
3. From the New York Times to Variety, it has been received exceptionally well by the international audience.
The movie is received well by the critics. Stephen Holden of New York times in his review said,:
“Critics Pick! The wheels of justice grind slowly and mercilessly in “Court,” Chaitanya Tamhane’s quiet, devastating critique of the antiquated Indian legal system. ”
– Stephen Holden, NEW YORK TIMES
4. Portrays the misery of two-third of India’s 4 million prisoners who are under trial
Court is a story of millions of Indians who await justice in the absence of speedy trail in our country.
5. Has won laurels at various international film festivals
Court was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014, where it won the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature and won the top prize in the non-competitive Horizons category, among other honours.
6. Shot in the slums and real locations
The film has a feel of the real India. Instead of being shot on set, it has been shot at real slums where municipal sewage workers live.
7. Features an actor from the slums
While shooting in the slums, line producer and location manager Kishor Sawant came across a young man, Shirish Pawar, who was showing him around. He liked his gestures and the way he talked so much that he immediately called up film director Chaitanya to take his audition. The young man was finally cast in the film as Narayan Kamble’s assistant.
8. With debutante director and first-time actors, the cast did not have the luxury of vanity vans and other comforts, but they made it up with their a performances and an honest attempt to capture a social issue.
With a debutante director and new actors, the luxury of vanity vans and other comforts were clearly not available. The crew was shooting in a house that was adjacent to the common toilet so they had to coordinate with the slum residents as to when they wanted to use it, as described by Kishor Sawant.
All images from Court