“Taare Zameen Par” to represent India at the Oscars | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 24, 2008

“Taare Zameen Par” to represent India at the Oscars


Ameer Khan and Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par

Will Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan be third time lucky? Will he break India's Oscar jinx? These are the questions doing the rounds in the Indian cinema industry after Bollywood "Taare Zameen Par", starring Bollywood superstar Khan as an actor-producer-director, was chosen as the country's official entry for the Oscar award in the best foreign language category.
The Film Federation of India made the announcement on Saturday evening. Aamir Khan's movie, which is the story of a child afflicted with dyslexia (learning disability) and his bonding with his teacher (played by Aamir), earned a lot of critical acclaim and mass popularity after its release last year. It also marks Khan's directorial debut.
This is the third time that a film starring Aamir Khan has been nominated for the Oscars. In 2001, Ashutosh Gowariker-directed superhit movie "Lagaan" starring Aamir as its lead actor and producer, was nominated for the same year but failed to make it after being shortlisted for the first five in the final lap of the race. Five years later, another film Aamir-starrer "Rang De Basanti", directed by Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, was nominated for the Oscars in 2006 and this too failed to win the award.
An elated Aamir Khan, now shooting in Ladakh for Raju Hirani's movie "Three Idiots" reacted to Oscar nomination by saying that "Taare Zameen Par" is a "a film that is extremely close to my heart. It's a film that first sensitized me as a parent and as person and then went on to have same effect on all the audience in India and across the globe. I hope that it has an equally strong impact on the members of the Academy as well."
Film Federation of India (FFI) chairperson Suneel Darshan, who led this year's ten-member jury committee for the Oscars nomination, said "Taare Zameen Par" was selected from among nine Indian movies like Ashutosh Gowarikar's "Jodhaa Akbar", Neeraj Pandey-directed "A Wednesday", Nishikant Kamat's "Mumbai Meri Jaan", Abhishek Kapoor's "Rock On" and Subhash Ghai's "Black & White". Two Marathi and one Telugu language films were also in contention for the nomination.
The nomination of "Taare Zameen Par" is without any controversy, unlike last year when India's official entry "Eklaviya" starring Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan among others, had kicked off a row for its quality.
Indian films have so far drawn a blank at the Oscars and the country's only achievement at the Oscar nights are maestro Satyajit Ray's getting the Lifetime Achievement award and Bhanu Athaiya's award for best costume designing in Sir Richard Attenborough's film "Gandhi".
Will Aamir Khan be third time lucky to break the glass ceiling at the Oscars? We have to wait for the answer till February 22, 2009.
Meanwhile, Marathi film "Tingya", which lost out to "Taare Zameen Par" for Oscar nomination, is likely to be sent for the Academy awards as an independent entry, its producer Ravi Rai said.
The film is a story about a six-year-old boy's love for his bull in the backdrop of agrarian crisis in Maharashtra state.
Rai said "Tingya" was not selected because it lacked technical finesse but added the content of the film is more important.
He takes heart from the fact that "Life is Beautiful" won the Oscar in the best foreign language category in 1998 as an independent entry.

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