India’s Oscar drill

Controversies
Deepa Mehta's Water (ignored by the Indian selectors for Rang De Basanti) made it to the nomination list, albeit as a Canadian entry
When Shankar's Jeans was sent to the Oscars, the reason given was that the film had a lavishly shot song at "the seven wonders of the world, featuring the eighth wonder Aishwarya Rai". The officials thought that would be enough to impress the academy voters.
In 2001, Aamir Khan's Lagaan was chosen over Mira Nair's internationally acclaimed Monsoon Wedding. Several people thought it was an unfair choice.
Bhavna Talwar, director of Pankaj Kapur-starrer Dharm, moved the Bombay High Court, alleging a bias in the selection process as one of the jury members, Ranjit Bahadur, was the editor of the Making of Eklavya, a promotional snapshot of the film.

Costly campaigns
Those who have been there like Vidhu Vinod Chopra have on record stated that the post-selection campaign expense often ends up exceeding the budget of a film. Aamir Khan is said to have spent $200,000 on promoting Lagaan. Khan's company took full-page advertisements in influential trade publications like Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Khan spent several days in Los Angeles, supervising the screening of the film for Oscar panelists. That's where small, independent filmmakers like Talwar are at a disadvantage. Ronnie Screwvala, whose Rang De Basanti was India's official entry for 2006, said the challenge lay in ensuring that each of the "500 people who constitute the jury in the foreign language film category actually got to watch the film".

Selection process
The process begins with every country being invited to submit its best film to the Academy.
In India, the Film Federation of India sets up the committee to select the official entry
English-subtitled copies of the selected film are sent to the Academy, where they are screened by the
Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s)
A secret ballot decides the final five nominations. Final voting for the winner is restricted to active and life Academy members who have attended exhibitions of all five nominated films.

... contd.

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