Not many in Gujarat are happy with the decision of sending ‘The Good Road’ as India’s official entry to the 2014 Oscars.
From Karan Johar to Anurag Kashyap, Hindi film biggies are shocked to see that Ritesh Batra’s ‘Lunchbox’ has not been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars. But if one goes by the Gujarati critics of ‘The Good Road’ -- India’s official entry for the 2014 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category -- some more shock waves are likely to erupt in public place.
In the month of July-August, many Gujarati critics have rubbished ‘The Good Road’, while some have dubbed it as a “horrible film”.
Shishir Ramavat, one of the young and talented Gujarati film critics (read his review here), had dubbed “Oscar-worthy” The Good Road as the film that hits badly the sensibilities of the viewers.
Ramavat has said in his review of the film that “The Good Road” is weak in direction and in acting department.
“Its characters don’t evolve as film progresses. Most actors speak awful Gujarati and those characters who speak the language well have flat faces incapable to emote”.
Ramavat said he felt cheated after seeing the film. However, these are Ramavat's personal views. But the fact remains that the film flopped miserably in Gujarat, amongst critics and film buffs.
A senior personality linked to Gujarati theatre in Mumbai since the last 30 years told Rediff.com, “It’s a horrible film. Weak direction and weak acting is not the only issue. It shows prostitution mela, literally, somewhere on highways of the Kutch in the most deplorable way. It will be an acute embarrassment for Gujarat when more critics see the film. Its most shocking and surprising that the film was selected unanimously by the selection board.”
The Gujarati theatre personality went further and said in anguish, “I understand 2G scam and other scams in New Delhi, but I don’t understand why there is manipulation in selecting a good film from India? Why the process of selection is above board?”
Most Gujarati critics have mentioned the unrestricted sexual abuses spoken by artistes playing the roles of teenage prostitutes in the film.
Ramavat had written his critical piece tearing apart the film in July 2013. The film had won a national award in May 2013.
The Gujarati critics had alleged that “it’s a painfully slow and artless film”. The final product shows that producers have been miserly in production value, said Ramavat.
In 1980, Ketan Mehta’s Gujarati film Bhavni Bhavai had won two national awards and Upendra Trivedi’s Manvini Bhavai had also won national award in 1993. No Gujarati film in the intermediary years made it to the top.
Ramavat regretted, “The Good Road will damage more than helping the Gujarati film world”.
He argued that most times regional films represent popular culture of the state and its society. “The Good Road smells of dishonesty”, alleged Ramavat in his angry review of the film.
Image: A poster of 'The Good Road'