Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, which features Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in lead roles, has been selected as India's official entry in the International Feature Film category at the Oscars, the Film Federation of India (FFI) said.
Ranveer plays an aspiring rapper in the film who performs the story of his life on the streets of Mumbai. The film was directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar.
Gully Boy released on 14 February this year and also featured Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma and Amruta Subhash. FFI secretary general Supran Sen told PTI that the decision to choose this film was unanimous even though there were 27 films in the running this year. Other films being considered included Andhadhun, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Badla and Badhaai Ho.
Actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen was the head of the jury for this year's selection committee. "The energy of the film was infectious. It will speak to the audience," she said. The screening process began on Monday and ended on Saturday.
An elated Ranveer said he is proud of Zoya Akhtar and the entire team. Adding that Gully Boy echoes the voice of the streets and is one of his most personal films, he said, "As always, I will keep striving towards making the flag of Hindi cinema fly high. I'm very happy that the passionate hard work that our cast and crew put into creating Gully Boy is reaping rewards."
" Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) September 21, 2019
"It (Gully Boy) is her (Zoya) baby, and I am blessed to have been a part of her maverick vision. With the love and support of our beloved audience, we're hoping to make a significant mark on the world stage," he said.
Farhan took to Twitter to congratulate the Gully Boy team, while Kalki Koechlin called it the "best Saturday evening news".
Amruta, who played Murad's (Ranveer's character in the film) mother Razia Ahmed, said she is overwhelmed. "My first film Shwaas was also India's entry to the Oscar and now Gully Boy. The subject, the making of the films is so universal. I am sure it will resonate and touch the hearts of everyone. It is great that this film will be representing us," she told PTI.
#GullyBoy has been selected as India's official entry to the 92nd Oscar Awards. #apnatimeaayega Thank you to the film federation and congratulations #Zoya @kagtireema @ritesh_sid @RanveerOfficial @aliaa08 @SiddhantChturvD @kalkikanmani & cast, crew and hip hop crew. 🕺🏻 pic.twitter.com/Eyg02iETmG
" Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 21, 2019
Varma, whose portrayal of Moeen in the film earned him critical acclaim, said, "We are going to Oscars. This is a big deal. We are happy that the whole nation has chosen our film and it is very exciting."
The last film from India that made it to the final five in the Best Foreign Film category list was Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan in 2001. Mother India (1958) and Salaam Bombay (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.
The 92nd Academy Awards will be announced 9 February, 2020.
- With inputs from PTI