Lunchbox loses Oscar race to Gujarati film

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The word’s out. It’s not The Lunchbox, the critically acclaimed debut film of Ritesh Batra, that’s heading for the Oscars. The Lunchbox, the front-runner for India’s entry, lost out to the Gujarati film The Good Road, a lost-and-found story of a small boy.

Last year, Anurag Basu’s film Barfi, which was nominated by the Film Federation of India (FFI) as India’s entry, did not even qualify for the category of “Best Foreign Language Film” at the Oscars last year.
The decision has not gone down well among the fans and makers of The Lunchbox. Co-producer Karan Johar took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
“Really shocked and disappointed... #LUNCHBOX had every factor working in its favour... we may have just lost our golden chance... SAD!!!” he tweeted. The Lunchbox, a unique love story, not only won the Critics’ Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes this year but received a nearly-15-minute standing ovation from the audience.
Twenty two entries from different parts of India entered for consideration this year. Besides The Lunchbox, other films in the race included Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Vishwaroopam.
“It was a unanimous decision by the 19-member jury to select The Good Road, In fact, The Lunchbox was a very strong contender,” Goutam Ghose, chairman of the Oscar selection committee of the Film Federation of India, told the media. “This is a new film but The Good Road surprises as it shows unknown India through the story of a boy who is lost and then found while his family is on a holiday trip to Kutch,” Ghose said.
The Lunchbox co-producer Anurag Kashyap tweeted: “Feeling very very disappointed, can’t comment on a film I have not seen, but it better make it to final five. I don’t know who the federation is (sic) but it goes to show why we completely lack the understanding to make films that can travel across borders...”
He said: “First time, and I really mean it first time, I really was excited because the first time we knew we had a chance, first time I was waiting for it (sic).”
Director Ritesh Batra tweeted: “Congrats to The Good Road. Hope it makes it all the way, else it will be a lost chance by FFI-appointed jury that lacks vision. Hope I am wrong.” Some fans described the decision as “purely India’s loss”.

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