Village Rockstars premiered at TIFF 2017
Helmed by Rima Das, Village Rockstars is shot on a handheld camera and a shoe-string budget in rural Assam. A 12-membered jury — led by Mr SV Rajendra Singh Babu — announced the film, as the official contender for Oscars 2019 in the Best Foreign Language Film category on Saturday morning.
It's not been one hour since this news went viral, so a leading lady contacted Rima Das and she excitedly answered the phone without saying hello but "Thank you thank you thank you!” Well, that truly proves that this is the best day of her entire life.
Revealing more, Rima revealed that she had received “hints of the news” last night itself. “Of course, I couldn’t say anything then but today has to be the happiest day of my life.” The self-taught filmmaker, who is currently at her village, Kalardiya, in Assam’s Chaygaon, added: “I just happened to be home — and what timing to receive this news. Right now I’m celebrating with my family, friends and the cast.”
Using all possible sources from her village, Kalardiya, the movie was made in over four years with a cast of non-actors. Later the movie won the National Award for Best Film earlier this year. The movie follows the story of a ten-year-old girl (played by child actor Bhanita Das) with dreams to form her own rock band, who goes in search of an electric guitar in her village.
“I did not have any storyboard for Village Rockstars. Since there was no crew, I did not use any artificial light. I shot in the magic light — in the morning and afternoon when the sunlight is not harsh. All the actors, barring well-known Assamese actor Kulada Bhattyacharya, who appears as a wise man, are from my village. And they literally learned how to act under mukoli aakax (open skies)," Rima earlier said in an interview.
Apparently, a total number of 29 films were submitted as nominations including Raazi, Padmaavat, Hichki, October, Love Sonia, Gulabjaam, Mahanati, Pihu, Kadvi Hawa, Bhogda, Revaa, Bioscopewala, Manto, 102 Not out, Padman, Bhayanakam, Ajji, Nude & Gali Guliiyan.
Rajkummar Rao's Newton was selected last year as the official entry. However, the film failed to make it to the final cut. Talking about the past, only three films have made till the last round till yet in the foreign language film category – Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).
Some of the other countries have also announced their candidates for the honor. Indonesia has selected a feminist neo-western flick Marlina the Murder In Four Acts for the 91st Academy Awards and Lebanon picked Capharnaum. Norway went with Iram Haq’s What Will People Say, where interestingly Adil Husain plays the protagonist.