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November 3, 2001

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Lagaan to be India's entry at the Oscars

Bharati Dubey in Bombay

A 14-member jury of the Film Federation of India has voted for Lagaan to be India's official entry at the 2002 Oscars, the annual awards function of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"It was a unanimous decision," said actress and producer Sushma Shiromanee. "It's a film that reflects Indian values and culture. This is our best bet. There was no controversy and every member voted for Lagaan."

Vikas Mohan, producer and editor of trade magazine Super Cinema, agreed. "Although we did watch all the 12 films, we shortlisted three -- Monsoon Wedding, Asoka and Lagaan," he said. "And we chose Lagaan because it was a complete Indian film made with a lot of dedication."

Filmmaker Harmesh Malhotra seconded this view.

Ashutosh Gowariker, the director of Lagaan, was pleased to hear the news. "I am glad the jury has respected our work," he told rediff.com. "I am on cloud nine."

On a more sombre note, he added, "It is time for us to pull up our socks. We are hiring a marketing agency to promote our film and re-releasing it in the mainline theatres of America. We also plan to participate in the Golden Globe French Awards and the Sundance Festival."

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