After the Telugu film industry, it’s time for the Malayalam industry to make India proud. In a momentous feat, Tovino Thomas’ superhit Malayalam film 2018 has become India’s official entry to Oscars 2024 after achieving tremendous success in theatres. The announcement was made by renowned filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli, chairman of the Film Federation of India’s (FFI) selection committee.
Kasaravalli said that the movie was selected due to its relevant theme of climate change and the challenges of people in the midst of what is called as development in the society. FFI President Ravi Kottarakara said a 16-member selection committee led by Kasaravalli screened films, news agency PTI reported.
22 films including Sudipto Sen’s The Kerala Story, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt-starrer Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, and Rani Mukherjee’s Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway (Hindi); Balagam (Telugu); Vaalvi and Baaplyok (Marathi); and August 16, 1947 (Tamil) were considered before picking up Tovino Thomas’ superhit film 2018.
Soon after India’s official entry to Oscars 2024 was revealed, 2018 actor Kunchacko Boban recounted his experience of shooting the film in an exclusive interview with IndiaToday.in. “It’s a moment of pride for us. It was wonderful shooting for it and the film broke all records. Globally, 2018 was lauded by people and broke many milestones. It documented the emotions of the people, which is why it was relatable to many. Since, it is a real story, it managed to reach wider audience,” Boban said.
He further said that not just the story, the film is strong in technical aspects as well and a film that deserves the acclaim. “Not just the story, the film is technically strong as well. It is a film that deserves the honour. I can’t explain my happiness right now. 2018 is a film that is deserved to be placed in the Oscars 2024 race,” he noted.
No Indian film has been nominated for the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars since Aamir Khan’s Lagaan in 2002. Two other films from India that made it to the final five nominees- Nargis Dutt’s Mother India and Mira Nair-directorial Salaam Bombay!
India’s official entry to the Oscars last year was Chhello Show, which could not make it to the nominees list. Despite this, it was a landmark year for Indian cinema as RRR’s foot-tapping mass anthem Naatu Naatu won the Oscars for the Best Original Song and Guneet Monga-backed The Elephant Whisperers also won in the Best Documentary Short Subject category.
Directed by Jude Anthony Joseph, the survival drama is based on the 2018 Kerala floods that devastated Kerala. It also shows the efforts of locals for surviving amid the trying conditions after the devastating floods. The film features Tovino Thomas, Aparna Balamurali, Tanvi Ram, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Narain and Lal in significant roles.
Released in May this year, 2018 is the highest earning Malayalam film of all time and one of Indian cinema’s top earners in 2023 so far. Made at a budget of around Rs 30 crore, the film made a total of Rs 92.85 crore in its lifetime at the Indian box office. The film raked in Rs 180.03 crore at the worldwide box office, according to trade portal Sacnilk.
(With PTI inputs)