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National award winning Marathi film 'Court' is India's entry for Oscars

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NEW DELHI: The National Award winning Marathi film Court, written and directed by first-time filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane, is India’s official entry for the Oscars in the foreign language category.

The decision was taken by a 16-member committee headed by Amol Palekar set up by the Film Federation of India (FFI), which met in Hyderabad. Other contenders included MasaanPK and Baahubali.

Court, which has already been to several international film festivals and won national and international awards, is the story of a radical poet who is accused of waging war against the state. It follows the never-ending trial of a balladeer who is accused of encouraging a municipal worker to commit suicide through his fiery songs. The multi-lingual arthouse drama examines the Indian judicial system from the perspectives of the accused, the lawyer defending him, the public prosecutor, and the judge presiding over the case.

Court was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014 where it won the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature as well as the top prize in the non-competitive Horizons category. Court also won the National Award for Best Feature Film at this year’s National Film Awards.

The movie’s cast includes its producer Vivek Gomber, Marathi stage veteran Geetanjali Kulkarni, and Vira Sathidar. It has been shot by Mrinal Desai and edited by Rikhav Desai. Tamhane and Gomber are in Japan at the Fukoka International Film Festival where the film is being screened.

This is the third Marathi film to be sent for the Oscars. The first was Sandeep Sawant’s Shwaas in 2004, while the second was Harichandrachi Factory by Paresh Mokakshi.

India has never won an Academy Award in the best foreign language movie category though it has figured in the nominations thrice: for Mehmoob Khan’s Mother India, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and Ashuthosh Gowarikar’sLagaan.

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