DAM 999 maker awaits Oscar nominations

Kochi:  A day ahead of the nominations announcement for the 84th Academy Awards, filmmaker Sohan Roy has his fingers crossed.

His controversial film Dam 999 features among the 265 feature films shortlisted for the 2011 Best Picture Oscar. It stands a chance to feature in the final nominations tomorrow.

The film shows the aftermath of a dam that collapses in China, based on the real-life Banqiao Dam disaster of 1975. The $10 million film tells the tale of a cracking dam built during colonial rule and revolves around nine characters and their emotions.

The film has triggered conflict between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the century-old Mullaperiyar Dam.

Last month the Jayalalithaa government had banned film in Tamil Nadu saying the film refers to the Mullaperiyar Dam dispute and may create panic among the people of the state. Calling the ban a “challenge” to creative people, Sohan Roy moved the Supreme Court against the ban.

“The film Dam 999 does not refer to the present Mullaperiyar dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The movie talks about dam disaster only,” he said in his petition.

The Supreme Court had then asked the Tamil Nadu government to hear the objections of Mr Roy on December 12 and pass appropriate orders by December 16.

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to extend the suspension by six months. The director has said he has no option but to approach the Supreme Court again.

The engineer-turned-filmmaker hopes for the best, and believes destiny depends on Karma.
“We have done our duties well to get it (the movie) qualified. I used to dream a lot about Oscar. Now it’s our dream… A dream of 1.2 billion (people)… Let’s all dream together. Hope the destiny will make that dream true,” Roy told IANS.

Roy’s DAM 999 is India’s only hope at the Oscars this year. India’s official entry, Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu, failed to make it to the top nine shortlist for the best foreign film Oscar for 2011.

In addition to a possible nomination in the Best Picture category, three songs from DAM 999 are among the 39 shortlisted numbers in contention for nominations in the Original Song category at the Oscars. Dakkanaga Dugu Dugu, DAM999 Theme Song and Mujhe Chhod Ke are the three songs from DAM 999 that are vying for a place in the final nomination list for the category.

International films Rio and The Muppets are the only other films with three songs each in the list.

Under Academy rules, a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film.

The final 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced tomorrow at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Los Angeles.

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