(BY ALI NADERZAD) Eklavya (The Royal Guard) has been voted India’s official entry to the Oscars. Mumbai filmmaker and producer Vinod Chopra commented, I’m elated by the news. But this was only the first battle. The real one is still ahead. I’m leaving for the US on October 2nd and will start my groundwork there. I’m banking on my previous experiences at the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and the overwhelming support the film has received in the West. Chopra has been one of Mumbai’s most successful directors with a heavily exhibited series of sequels released in recent years featuring adventures of Munna Bhai, a gangster-turned-hero stuck in existentialist quicksand. The series, written by Chopra, have been some of the most successful comedies in recent years to have come out of Mumbai.
Eklavya is already getting noticed by the Hollywood intelligentsia, the LA Times saying it suggests a lost film by David Lean and UK’s Sunday Telegraph commenting that it is “far from typical. Very strong and very Shakespearean.” Chopra’s Parinda was sent to the Oscars in 1989 as India’s official entry.