New Delhi: Even as Rima Das hopes the Indian government will help her surmount monetary hurdles to begin the Oscar campaign for her Assamese film Village Rockstars, filmmakers like Vetrimaraan and Manish Mundra are still waiting for government funds promised to them.
“They (the central government) haven’t reimbursed us the promised funds for promotional expenses of ‘Newton’ in our run-up to the Oscars. It’s (been) more than eight months,” Mundra, who produced the Rajkummar Rao-starrer under his Drishyam Films banner, tweeted. His tweet came after Assamese actor Adil Hussain urged the government to release Rs 5 crore to promote Indie film Village Rockstars, the country’s official entry to the 91st Academy Awards in the best foreign language film category.
Acclaimed Tamil filmmaker Vetrimaaran says that after the government set up a promotional fund, Visaranai was sent by the Film Federation of India (FFI) committee to the Oscars. “The promotion game there is a totally different and not an easy one for us.
In over 60 years that India has sent foreign language films to Academy Awards, only three have made it to the nomination line-up — Mother India, Salaam Bombay! and Lagaan. None has won. Government support with funds and a year-long outreach for Indian cinema in the US could help in breaking the jinx, say experts.
In 2016, the then Minister of Information and Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu had announced a Film Promotion Fund to provide financial assistance for promotional activities to movies which would be selected in competition section of a reputed international film festival or were being sent as India’s official entry to the Academy Awards under the foreign film category. Right after FFI’s selection committee chairman S.V. Rajendra Singh Babu unveiled Village Rockstars as this year’s pick, he cited “acute lack of funds” for promotions as a reason why Indian entries haven’t made the cut. Das, who wrote, directed and edited Village Rockstars, is currently looking for ways to raise funds, but is grateful for Assam government’s help. “I have not heard anything from the (central) government yet, but we asked the Assam government for support and they have promised Rs 1 crore. I’ve heard that 33 per cent of it will go in entertainment tax. So, around Rs 67 lakh is the fund we will get as of now,” Das told IANS, adding that she may look at private organisations in Assam or seek help via crowdfunding platforms. Mundra has committed Rs 10 lakh to her, while political party Asom Gana Parishad has extended Rs 5 lakh for the film. (IANS)