Gujarati coming-of-age drama “Chhello Show” is India’s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced on Tuesday.
Titled “Last Film Show” in English, the movie, directed by Pan Nalin, will release in theatres countrywide on October 14.
“‘Chhello Show’ is India’s official entry for Oscars 2023,” FFI Secretary General Supran Sen said.
The film, which will represent the country in the best international feature film category at the Oscars, is produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur’s banner Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP, and Marc Duale.
The story is inspired by Nalin’s own memories of falling in love with movies as a child in rural Gujarat.
Set in a remote rural village of Saurashtra, the film follows the story of a nine-year-old boy who begins a lifelong love affair with cinema when he bribes his way into a rundown movie palace and spends a summer watching movies from the projection booth.
“Chhello Show”, which features Bhavin Rabari, Bhavesh Shrimali, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval and Paresh Mehta, had its world premiere as the opening film at the Tribeca Film Festival in June last year.
It won multiple awards during its festival run, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical run.
Last year, Tamil drama “Koozhangal” (“Pebbles”), directed by filmmaker Vinothraj PS, was India’s official entry at the Oscars but didn’t make the shortlist.
The last Indian film that made it to the final five was Aamir Khan-led “Lagaan” in 2001.
“Mother India” (1958) and “Salaam Bombay” (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.
The 95th Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on March 12, 2023 in Los Angeles.