‘Chhello Show’: The show that mirrors an aspirational India

It is the story of a child pursuing his dreams, whatever it takes

Hari Hara Mishra | December 23, 2022


#‘Chhello Show’   #Gujarat   #society   #Cinema  


Indian cinema is the largest national film industry in terms of the number of films produced (2,446 feature films annually as of 2019). The United States cinema (also called Hollywood) is the oldest film industry in the world and also the largest in terms of revenue. The Indian film industry is multi-lingual and the largest in the world in terms of ticket sales but third largest in terms of revenue, mainly due to having among the lowest ticket prices in the world. It is most popularly known as ‘Bollywood’, a portmanteau of Bombay and Hollywood. It is the second oldest film industry in the world, after Hollywood.

The Oscar awards, started in 1929, are regarded as the most prestigious, significant awards in the entertainment industry worldwide. However, it pains to note that none of the Indian movie has made it to the winner list in nearly one hundred years. Only three movies have made it to the top 5 in nominations in the international film category. ‘Mother India’ (1957), ‘Salaam Bombay’ (1988) and ‘Lagaan’ (2001). In the last twenty years, none have made even to the nominees list. Even a small country like Bhutan had an entry in international feature film category in 2022 with the nomination of ‘Lunana: A yak in the classroom’.

So, it filled all of us Indians with lofty expectations, when the Gujarati film ‘Chhello Show’ made it to the shortlist announced on December 21. This is the stage before nominations, which are due on January 24 and the final awards are to be announced on March 12, 2023. The entire process is documented in Oscar’s website as below:

1.    International Feature Film nominations will be determined in two rounds of voting:
a. The International Feature Film Preliminary Committee will view the eligible submissions in the category and vote by secret ballot to produce a shortlist of fifteen films.
b. The International Feature Film Nominating Committee must view the fifteen shortlisted films and vote by secret ballot to determine the category’s five nominees.

2.    Final voting for the International Feature Film award shall be restricted to active and life Academy members who have viewed all five nominated films.

3.    The Academy statuette (Oscar) will be awarded to the film and accepted by the director on behalf of the film’s creative talents. For Academy Awards purposes, the country will be credited as the nominee. The director’s name will be listed on the statuette plaque after the country and film title.

So, now it is over to the International Feature Film Nominating Committee members who have to view the fifteen shortlisted films and vote by secret ballot to determine the category’s five nominees. I have no technical competence to judge a movie. Nor have I seen the other fourteen movies, which are in the race for making it to top 5, in just nearly a month from now.

Having said that, I watched ‘Chhello Show’, or ‘The Last Film Show’ (in Hindi). What I liked most is that the film is a magnificent work of storytelling, and a masterpiece. A small child goes to see a movie every day and gradually develops a passion to make a film. He grasps the basic art of cinema by befriending a projector technician in the theatre, and through sheer  plain intuition and intelligence can make makeshift exhibit of cinema reels in various indigenous ways. However, He wants to make a cinema himself and pursue this ultimate dream. The last scene of the movie depicts his moving to a town in pursuit of his dream leaving all that he loves behind.

This is the story of India today. Children have dreams of their own, could be much different than what their parents would love them to do. What is more important, they are able to dedicate all and have the whatever-it-takes approach to pursue their dreams. As shown in the movie, they have the talent to learn the tactics quickly and innovate in their own way. This is a generation of creative minds with passion and dedication to excel. And that precisely is the hope for India tomorrow, awards or no awards at Oscars.

Mishra is a columnist.

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