New Delhi, Sep 21 (PTI) Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy”, featuring Ranveer Singh as an aspiring rapper, has been selected as India’s official entry in the International Feature Film category at the Oscars, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced on Saturday.
The movie, which released commercially across the country on February 14, also features Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma and Amruta Subhash.
Gully Boy”, produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, features Ranveer as an up-and-coming rapper who sets out to achieve his dream by rhyming about his life on the Mumbai streets.
“India’s official entry for Oscars this year is ‘Gully Boy’. There were 27 films in the running this year but it was an unanimous decision to select ‘Gully Boy’,” FFI secretary general Supran Sen told PTI.
Ranveer said it is a proud moment for the entire team.
Celebrated actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen was the head of the jury for this year’s selection committee.
“The energy of the film was infectious. It will speak to the audience,” Aparna said on “Gully Boy” being the final pick of the jury.
FFI president Firdausul Hasan said the screening process for the Oscar selection started on Monday and ended on Saturday.
He also revealed that apart from “Gully Boy”, other Bollywood films competing for the Oscar entry were “Badhaai Ho”, “Andhadhun”, “Article 15”, “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, “Badla”, “Kesari” and “The Tashkent Files”.
Ranveer said “Gully Boy” echoed the voice of the streets and it will always be one of his most personal films.
“As always, I will keep striving towards making the flag of Hindi cinema fly high. I’m very happy that the passionate hard work that our cast and crew put into creating ‘Gully Boy’ is reaping rewards,” he said in a statement.
He also said that he is especially proud of and happy for Zoya.
“It (‘Gully Boy’) is her baby, and I am blessed to have been a part of her maverick vision. With the love and support of our beloved audience, we’re hoping to make a significant mark on the world stage,” he said.
Farhan took to Twitter to congratulate the team behind the film, which was one of the most critically-acclaimed Hindi movies of 2019.
“Gully Boy has been selected as India’s official entry to the 92nd Oscar Awards. #apnatimeaayega. Thank you to the film federation and congratulations #Zoya @kagtireema @ritesh_sid @RanveerOfficial @aliaa08 @SiddhantChturvD @kalkikanmani & cast, crew and hip hop crew,” he wrote.
Kalki also expressed her excitement on the movie’s Oscar selection.
“Woweeeeeeeee! That is just the best Saturday evening news!” she tweeted.
Amruta, who played Murad’s (Ranveer’s character in the film) mother Razia Ahmed, said she is overwhelmed.
“My first film ‘Shwaas’ was also India’s entry to the Oscar and now ‘Gully Boy’. I’m so overwhelmed. The film is near to my heart. I am thrilled, happy and excited.
“The subject, the making of the films is so universal. I am sure it will resonate and touch the hearts of everyone. It is great that this film will be representing us,” Amruta told PTI.
Writer Reema Kagti said that the team is “thrilled” with the selection.
Varma, whose portrayal of perceptive and enterprising Moeen in the film earned him critical acclaim, said getting selected for the Academy Awards is a big deal
“We are going to Oscars… This is a big deal. It is very special. This was unexpected. I am jumping in joy. We are happy that the whole nation has chosen our film and it is very exciting,” the actor said.
No Indian film has ever won an Oscar. The last film from India that made it to the final five in the Best Foreign Film category list was Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Lagaan” in 2001.
“Mother India” (1958) and “Salaam Bombay” (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.
Assamese film “Village Rockstars”, directed by Rima Das, was India’s official submission to the Oscars last year.
The 92nd Academy Awards will be announced February 9, 2020.