Malayalam survival drama 2018: Everyone is a Hero has been chosen as India’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, making it only the fourth film from the language to be chosen for the honour.
Before this, Guru (1997), directed by Rajiv Anchal and starring Mohanlal; Adaminte Makan Abu (2011), directed by Salim Ahamed and Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu (2019) were chosen as the country’s official entry for the Oscars, but none of these films got nominated.
Directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, 2018 is based on the unprecedented rains and flood that hit Kerala in 2018. With an ensemble cast including Tovino Thomas, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aparna Balamurali, Kalaiyarasan, Kunchacko Boban, Lal, Narein, Tanvi Ram and others, the film became a moving reminder of the days when everyone in Kerala, irrespective of their religion, caste or their political inclinations, came together to help people in distress.
It also became one of the biggest grossers of all time for the Malayalam film industry, at a time when the theatres in the State were facing a crisis due to a majority of films tanking at the box office. Tovino Thomas, one of the lead actors, said in an Instagram live, that the entire crew had put in a lot of effort to pull off the film despite many constraints. The nomination will take the message of the unity of Kerala’s people depicted in the film to the world, he said.
Earlier, addressing a press conference at the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, Chennai on Wednesday, filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli, chairman of the selection committee, announced that the Film Federation of India (FFI) picked the Malayalam film for its very relevant theme of climate change and the travails of people against the backdrop of what has been understood as “development”. Ravi Kottarakara, FFI President, said a 16-member committee led by Mr. Kasaravalli screened several films before making their decision.
Last year, Pan Nalin’s semi-autobiographical Gujarati drama Chhello Show (Last Film Show) was selected for this year’s Oscars. While the film was shortlisted, it didn’t get nominated. Nevertheless, India bagged the Best Documentary Short Film for The Elephant Whisperers and ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR won the Best Music (Original Song) award.