City awaits the Lord

ALL LORD of the Rings (LOTR) enthusiasts who gnashed their teeth in envy when the third part, The Return of the King, was released in other metros in February, can take heart and celebrate the film's clean sweep at the Oscars.

The film, which is opening tomorrow, won a record eleven Oscars including the biggies (best picture and director) apart from a slew of technical awards. "The film's Oscar performance will definitely make a difference to its performance," says Akshat Misra of Sangeet cinema. "The timing is perfect. The buzz will definitely help."

The phone has not stopped ringing for Faiz Khan of Skyline, which hosted a Lord of the Rings marathon this week. "From Monday afternoon there have been calls for bookings," Faiz says. Misra says, "The Return of the King is not a typical Oscar movie. Movies like A Beautiful Mind or The English Patient were mainly for the elite. The Return of the King, on the other hand, would draw the LOTR devotee as well as people who just enjoy the eye-popping effects. There is something in the movie for everyone."

While Return of the King ran rings around the awards, Clint Eastwood's Mystic River picked up two acting Oscars (Sean Penn for best actor and Tim Robbins for supporting actor) and Renee Zellweger picked up the supporting actress Oscar for Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain.

Reetesh Gade of Columbia Tristar says, "Renee Zellweger win will make a difference to the movie and we are looking to release Cold Mountain sometime in the end of March." Finding Nemo, which won the Best Animated Feature is enjoying a dream run in Chennai according to Gade. "Nemo has completed 125 days which is a record of sorts. The film did well in Hyderabad and Gade said talks are on for a summer re-release to coincide with kiddies' "summer vacation." Sophia Coppola proved she is her father's daughter with an absolute gem of a film - Lost in Translation. The film, which had quite few nominations including best picture and director (no one could stop the Ring juggernaut) won for best original screenplay. A theatre release is doubtful but not to worry for Cinema Paradiso is here.

The store stocks the DVD and one can be sure the film would be flying off the shelf. And while on the topic of home viewing, Star movies is being kind enough to air Halle Berry's 2002 Oscar winning turn in Monster's Ball as well as Roman Polanski's holocaust saga, The Pianist. The film won Oscars for best director, actor (remember Adrian Brody's lip lock with Halle Berry?) and adapted screenplay last year. Peter Weir's bracing seafaring saga Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World that got two nods from the Academy for cinematography and sound editing did not fare too well in the twin cities.

Winning eleven Oscars puts Return of the King in the same bracket as Titanic and Ben Hur. "The three films won eleven Oscars and are lavishly mounted epics, but the days of movies running for a year are definitely over," comments Misra. As Faiz succinctly puts it, "There can be only one Mughal E Azam, Sholay or Titanic."

The biggest competition for Return of the King according to Misra comes from "the Indo-Pak cricket series. With three of the one-dayers being day/night matches, it does not matter how many Oscars a film has picked up. What would be on everyone's mind would be Sachin's sixers and Harbhajan's googlies!

Graphics: K. Ramesh Babu