Jallikattu, the Malayalam feature film directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India's official entry for the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India announced on Thursday.
Jallikattu, which was unanimously chosen from 27 entries across Hindi, Marathi and other languages, is about a tribe of men coming together to stop a bull that has run amok in their village.
"It is a film that really brings out the raw problems which are there in human beings, that is we are worse than animals," film-maker Rahul Rawail, chairman od the FFI's jur, told reporters in an online press conference
The film, which derives its name from the controversial bull-taming event from South India, is based on a short story by Hareesh.
It features actors Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran.
Among the films that were considered by the jury included Chhapaak, Shakuntala Devi, Chhalaang, Gulabo Sitabo, Eeb Allay Ooo!, The Sky is Pink, Bulbbul and the internationally celebrated feature The Disciple.
Calling Pellissery a 'very competent director', known for several critically acclaimed films like Angamaly Diaries and Ee. Ma. Yau., Rawail said Jallikattu is a production that country should be proud of.
"The whole film talks about an animal that has run amok in a butcher's shop. The film has been depicted wonderfully and it has been shot very well. The emotion that comes out really moved all of us to have it selected," Rawail said.
Jallikattu had its premiere on September 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival and received widespread critical acclaim.
The movie was particularly praised for Pellissery's spectacular directing effort, ably supported by Girish Gangadharan's cinematography and Renganaath Ravee's wild sound design work.
Pellissery also won the Best Director trophy at the International Film Festival of India last year.
In 2019, Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India's entry to the Oscars.