Assam Government last night decided to award Rs 50 lakh for Rima Das for her Oscar entry but she needs at least Rs 3 crore to make her presence felt at the Oscar, otherwise she and her film has no chance.
The independent film, Village Rockstars, which piped 27 contenders- including biggies like Padmavat, Hichki and Padman, to the post, now need at least Rs 3 crore to make its presence felt in the run up to the Oscars.
“I am aware of the campaign that we need to run in the US. And for that, we need money. I plead with the Government to give us financial assistance as soon as possible, I am the solo producer and everyone knows how I made this film. I am honestly helpless. It took me four years to make this film and money is the biggest hurdle now” said Director Rima Das, who has directed the movie in her home town in Chaygaon, Assam.
Meanwhile noted Assamese actor Adil Hussain has urged the government to release Rs 5 crore for the promotion of the film, Village Rockstars ahead of the Oscars, where it will represent India in the Best Foreign Language film category.
On 22 September, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced the independent film as the chosen one to vie with movies from several other countries to make the cut as a nominee in the highly competitive Academy Awards category.
FFI’s selection committee chairman SV Rajendra Singh Babu, a veteran film producer, said there is an acute lack of funds to carry out the required promotional processes effectively, which is why many Indian movies haven’t made it to the final round, barring three — Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Lagaan (2001).
Adil drew the attention of the Assam government, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his office and of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the matter, hoping they “will immediately release Rs 5 crore for the promotion of Village Rockstars, since all other countries have already started their campaigns in the US”. Adil’s tweets got other celebrities tweeting about the issue too.
On Adil’s plea to the government, another user commented that the taxpayers’ money should not be used for Oscars. “Is it some kind of national service? Why should we care about an American award? Why can’t film industry fund these expenses?” the user questioned, to which the actor replied:
Set in Das’ own village of Chhaygaon in Assam, Village Rockstars is the story of “poor but amazing children” who live a fun-filled life. The film also won the Best Feature film Award at the 65th National Film Awards. As for Das, she is hoping for the best as far as funds are concerned to put her film on the Oscars map.