It's official: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti is India's entry to the Oscars next year.
The debate this year has been frenzied -- even among you, dear readers -- especially because only nine films were submitted to the Film Federation of India. Barring the Marathi Bhook and Telugu Amma Chepindi, the list was dominated by mainstream Bollywood trying for Academy Award gold.
Besides Mehra's Rang De, the Hindi contenders were Rakesh Roshan's Krrish, Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Naseeruddin Shah's Yun Hota To Kya Hota, Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai, Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, and Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate. Of these, media speculation began treating the choice as a two-horse race: Rang De versus Munna Bhai, with Omkara as a probable dark horse.
It is surprising to have only 9 films submitted. The FFI invites all producers to send in their films if the makers feel the end-result is Oscar-worthy, but this year has seen a deplorable lack of regional cinema.
The FFI assembles a 12-member-panel to watch the films and make a decision. The panel this year included veteran director Basu Chatterji, Kalpana Lajmi, N Chandra, music director Aadesh Srivastava, writer Ved Rahi and A S Ramarao, among others.
So, Aamir Khan heads to the Oscars yet again. Even as Mehra may be uncorking a triumphant bottle of bubbly, articles against and for the decision are already being typed up.
The debate is just beginning.