Indian Oscars entry runs into legal trouble

Sep 30, 2007 IANS


Mumbai, Sep 29 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Saturday noted that there was prima facie bias in the selection process of this year's Oscars nomination of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer "Eklavya - The Royal Guard".

The court asked the film jury that selects India's official entry to the Oscars to reply to a petition by Bhavna Talwar, who made the acclaimed film "Dharm", challenging the selection of the Vidhu Vinod Chopra directed "Eklavya" as biased.

The jury has been asked to reply by Oct 10, when the court will take up the matter for hearing again.

The petition said one of the members of the jury was associated with a promotional film of "Eklavya".

The high court division bench comprising of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud Saturday, without accepting the petition, noted there was prima facie bias in the selection process, and thus asked the jury for their reply.

The fate of the petition will be decided on Oct 10 once the reply is received.

Talwar, whose "Dharm", a socially relevant film starring Pankaj Kapur and Supriya Pathak, lost out to "Eklavya" in the Oscars race, filed the petition Friday challenging the Film Federation of India (FFI)'s decision and also alleged that some members of the FFI were close to Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

"Talwar in her petition labelled FFI's decision to be vitiated by bias and had sought a recall of 'Eklavya', which stars besides Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, as India official entry for the Academy Awards," Bombay High Court officials said Saturday.

The petitioners, Talwar and her production company WSG Pictures, also urged the court that FII be directed to ensure a fair selection process for the film that will represent India at the Oscars.

Sources said that film editor Ranjit Bahadur, one of 11 jury members who picked the film for the Oscars entry, is also involved in behind the screen editing of a capsule of "Eklavya" which appears on the film's original DVD version.

Talwar's petition also stated that the FFI's job of selecting a film as India's official entry was of utmost public interest and hence it should exercise highest degree of care and ensure that the interest of the country was not compromised.

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Eklavya The Royal Guard



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