In 2003, the Film Federation of India felt there were no films worth sending to the Oscars. There were noises against the decision, but no major revolt.
Adoor Gopalakrishnan's masterpiece, NizhalKuthu, didn't satisfied the jury either.
In 2004, the jury surprised everyone by selecting Shwaas, a Marathi film about a grandfather who helps his grandson come to terms with inevitable blindness. Shwaas won the National Award for best film 50 years after another Marathi film Shyamchi Aai won the award.
The film was directed by 36-year-old debutant Sandeep Sawant. There were two Malayalam films in the fray, Kazcha and Perumazhakkalam, both of which lost out to Shwaas.
The producer of Shwaas had no money to promote the film, and Amitabh Bachchan donated Rs 1 lakh to support it, so it could garner support for the Oscars. Unfortunately, Shwaas didn't make it to the final list of nominees.
Also read: Shwaas' Oscar walk!