‘Village Rockstars’ is India’s official entry to Oscars 2019

A still from Village Rockstars   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a major victory for northeastern indie cinema and female filmmakers, Rima Das’ National Award-winning Assamese film Village Rockstars has been selected as India’s official entry to the 91 Academy Awards, 2019.

Addressing the issues of women empowerment and gender inequality, the film follows a rebellious and ambitious young girl, Dhunu (played by Bhanita Das), who dreams of rising above poverty, owning a guitar and forming her own rock band.

A rare ensemble

“Luckily, I got this news in my village at Chhayagaon, Assam. I am glad that I am with my family and the cast of the film. Otherwise, a news like this, if you are alone in some far-off land, could put you off balance,” said Ms. Das, who is a self-taught filmmaker.

What sets this film apart is the involvement of non-actors, including the protagonist and other children, who hail from Das’ native village in Assam. “It’s the first Assamese film to be sent as an official entry, in fact first from the northeast,” says Utpal Borpujari, film critic and filmmaker.

The 12-member selection committee of the Film Federation of India, headed by Kannada producer and director Rajendra Babu, picked Village Rockstars from 29 entries including films like Manto, Ajji, Nude, Gali Guleiyan, Raazi, Padmaavat and October.

Village Rockstars is only the second Assamese film to win the Swarna Kamal for Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards, after Jahnu Barua’s 1987 film Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai.

World premiere

Ms. Das’ feature had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival last year.

No Indian film has won in the foreign film category at the Oscars, with only three films making it to the final nominations — Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 10:55:31 PM |

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