India’s Oscar nomination lagging behind

Kolkata:  Salim Ahmed’s Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu, Son of Adam) is the official entry to Oscars from India, but the debutante filmmaker is finding it hard to generate funds for the high promotion cost needed to impress upon the awards jury.

One of the 63 films in the run for a nomination in the Best Foreign Language film category for the 84th Annual Academy Awards to be held in February, Adaminte Makan Abu has won four National Awards, including best film.

“I have written to the state government as well as the Centre seeking financial assistance. Nobody has replied. They selected my film for the Oscars, but I cannot afford to spend crores of rupees on promotion to get the award,” Ahmed told PTI here.

The film, a heartwarming story of a poor perfume seller’s struggle to perform Hajj, was screened at the ongoing Kolkata Film Festival here.

The Oscar jury will watch the film at an official screening in Los Angeles this Saturday.

“But for better chances at the Oscars, I need to have at least 6-7 screenings for various jury members. My estimated budget for that will be at least Rs 2 crore. With some money from my own pocket and contributions from close friends, I have managed to raise only Rs one crore so far,” he said.

He has already appointed an agent in the USA and is planning to stay for one month there to market his film.

“Not even members from the film industry have helped me out,” the 39-year-old complained adding that winning an Oscar will make the entire nation proud.

Before entering into films by assisting director G S Vijayan, he used to work as a travel agent.

“I met several Hajj pilgrims during that period and learnt their problems in completing their mission. This went to inspire me for making the film,” Ahmed said.

In the National Awards, the film was also honoured with the best actor, best cinematographer and background score.

“But I am not into films for winning awards, I just want to make quality cinema which people should enjoy watching,” he said.

Ahmed is now working on two scripts, one is a historical film while the other is a simple human interest story.

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