Malayalam feature "Jallikattu", directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India's official entry for the International Feature Film category at the Oscars, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced on Thursday. The film, which was unanimously chosen from 27 entries across Hindi, Odiya, Marathi and other languages, follows a bull that escapes from a slaughterhouse in a hilly remote village and the entire village men gathering to hunt down the animal.
"Jallikattu" is based on the short story Maoist by Hareesh and stars Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran. "There were a total of 27 films that had entered the race from Hindi, Malayalam, Oria and Marathi. The film which has been nominated by the jury to represent India at Oscars is Malayalam film 'Jallikattu'.
"It is a film that really brings out the raw problems which are there in human beings, that is we are worse than animals," filmmaker Rahul Rawail, Chairman, Jury Board, Film Federation of India, told reporters in an online press conference.
Calling Pellissery a "very competent director", known for several critically acclaimed films like "Angamaly Diaries" and "Ea Ma Yau", Rawail said "Jallikattu" is a production that country should be proud of.
"The whole film talks about an animal that has run amok in a butcher's shop... The film has been depicted wonderfully and it has been shot very well. The emotion that comes out really moved all of us to have it selected," the chairman said.
"Jallikattu" had its premiere on September 6, 2019 at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and received widespread critical acclaim. Pellissery also won the best director trophy at the 50th International Film Festival of India last year.
In 2019, Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy", starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India's entry to the Oscars.