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India Snubs Fest Hit 'The Lunchbox,' Submits 'The Good Road' for Oscar

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 21, 2013 at 3:08PM

I was rooting for India to submit Ritesh Batra’s Sony Pictures Classics pick-up "The Lunchbox," a warm Mumbai romance starring Irrfan Khan that cut a swath on the festival circuit from Cannes to Telluride and Toronto.
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'The Good Road'
'The Good Road'
Ritesh Batra tweet

I was rooting for India to submit Ritesh Batra’s Sony Pictures Classics pick-up "The Lunchbox," a warm Mumbai romance starring Irrfan Khan that cut a swath on the festival circuit from Cannes to Telluride and Toronto. But no, The Film Federation of India committee went another way with its official foreign language Oscar entry. They selected relatively unknown Gujarati-language road movie "The Good Road" from first-timer Gyan Correa amid a barrage of negative reaction. 

Produced by India’s National Film Development Corporation, the film premiered in July at the London Indian Film Festival and later won the National Film Award for a Gujurati film. 

Batra tweeted: “Heartbroken. We could have gone the distance we were told by our U.S. distributors, by the Hollywood press…”

I have not seen "The Good Road." But "The Lunchbox" had a real shot. This underscores the need for the Academy to revamp the foreign language category, which has been stuck for years. One of the problems of letting individual foreign countries make the call is that they are often myopic if not corrupt and do not necessarily select the film that might best compete against other films for the Oscar. 

This article is related to: Oscars, Awards, Awards, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Classic, Foreign, Best Foreign-Language Film


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.