That hope for 'Jallikattu': Will it return home with the Oscars?

(This article is authored by Alar...a freelance content writer)

This year had already given us enough anxiety, fear, and stress but the only thing that keeps us to push through is movies. Even in lockdown, OTT keeps us entertaining.  
The prestigious Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, originally scheduled to take place on Feb 28, 2021, but now got deferred to April 25, 2021, due to the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in several countries. It's the fourth time that the Academy Awards have got postponed in its history. 
The interim rule for the 2021 Oscars will allow streaming and VOD films scheduled for theatrical release to qualify for the Academy Awards. Last year, Parasite broke the language barrier to win in the non-English film category. It gave hope for the "Jallikattu" movie this year, which is India's official entry for the 'Best International film' category' for the 93rd academy awards, selected by 14 member committee of 'Film Federation of India (FFI)' from a shortlist of 26 films.  
The film was directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery and Starring Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, and Santhy Balachandran. This movie based on a short story, Maoist authored by S. Hareesh, satirizes the chaos unleashed in a high-range village after two buffaloes brought for slaughter runs amok. It’s a fairly luminous allegory of the state’s deeply-entrenched Leftist and semi-feudal social structures over which a wet dream of revolution continues to hover. 

The village’s only resident capitalist seems to be the butcher ‘Kaalan’ Varkey, who keeps the elites – the clergy and the commissar alike – in good humor with meatier cuts, thick lumps of fat, and shorter waiting time while they mill around his blood-splattered Sunday shop.  The film adaptation, scripted by S Hareesh and R Jayakumar, keeps the plot layout but with pared-down mise-en-scene and characters. 

While the novel version has two buffaloes – a bull and a cow – we can see only one in the movie version. The film was premiered at the Toronto International film festival and the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, where it received critical acclaim. Before this, Guru (1997), Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) was selected for Oscars. Both films, however, didn’t secure a spot on the Academy Awards nominations list. But now,  'Jallikattu' is the third one in the gate to the stage.  
It will be worth noting that, director Lijo Jose won The 'Best Director' award at the 50th International Film Festival, Goa last year.  It's quite heart racing to see 'Jallikattu'  elbowed with 26 movies that were seeking to capture the award this year - including Chaitanya Tamhane’s Marathi film ‘The Disciple’, which had won the prestigious FIPRESCI award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival and has Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron of ‘Roma’ and ‘Gravity’ fame as its executive producer — to cut.  

Among the others to lose out were 'Chippa' (Hindi), 'Moothon' (Malayalam), 'Yesterday’s Past' (Odia), 'The Check Post' (Hindi), 'Sir' (Hindi), 'Bittersweet' (Marathi), 'Shikara' (Hindi), 'Eeb Allay Ooo' (Hindi), 'Gunjan Saxena' (Hindi), 'Shakuntala' (Hindi), 'Bahattar Hoorian' (Hindi), 'Malang' (Hindi), 'Chhlaang' (Hindi), 'Bhavai' (Hindi), 'Gulabo Sitabo' (Hindi), 'Chhapaak' (Hindi), 'Bhonsle' (Hindi), 'AK vs AK' (Hindi), 'Kaamyaab' (Hindi), 'Serious Men' (Hindi), 'Bulbbul' (Hindi), 'I Pad' (Hindi), 'The Sky is Pink' (Hindi), 'Atkan Chatkan' (Hindi) and 'Chintu Ka Birthday' (Hindi).  

Along with 'Jallikattu', for 'Best International film' category, 200 Songs Of Farida (Yalkin Tuychiev), Happy Old Year (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit), A Sun (Chung Mong-hong), The Man Standing Next (Woo Min-ho), Wet Season (Anthony Chen), Mindanao (Brillante Mendoza), Roh (Emir Ezwan),  Running To The Sky (Mirlan Abdykalykov),  True Mothers (Naomi Kawase), Impetigore (Joko Anwar) have also been nominated for the Academy Awards, unveiling a sharp race between the bests. 

Will 'Jallikattu' return home with a golden statue in its hand?