National Award winning Assamese feature, Village Rockstars is India’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language category at the Oscars.
The award-winning film will be released on 28th September 2018 in Assam through Kamakhya Films and in metros cities through VKAAO, a joint venture of PVR Pictures and Bookmyshow
The director-cinematographer-editor-producer Rima Das says, “I have been waiting for this day and praying! Luckily, I got this news in my village at Chhayagaon, Assam (I arrived last night) I am glad that I am with my family and the cast of the film. Otherwise, a news like this, if you are alone in some far off land, could put you off the balance! Although I have been jumping around uncontrollably and creating all sorts of a nuisance. I still can’t believe that our film is India’s Oscar entry. I am pinching myself, screaming shouting with joy”
She adds, “We are totally overwhelmed by the announcement that Village Rockstars is India’s official entry to Oscar this year. I am so grateful to the selection committee for believing in our film”
Village Rockstars is the story of Dhunu, a girl who grows up in poverty and learns to fend for herself. However, that does not prevent her from following her dream of forming a rock band and owning a guitar someday. Most of the cast members of the film are non-actors including Rima Das’ niece Bhanita who plays Dhunu and the other kids who hail from Das’ native village in Assam.
The film which had it’s World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and India Premiere at Mumbai Film Festival 2018 has screened in more than 70 prestigious international and national film festivals and won 44 awards including 4 National Awards (Best Feature, Best Editing, Audiography and Child Artist)
It was an official selection at Film Bazaar Recommends (at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016), 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes) Work-In-Progress, San Sebastian International Film Festival 2017
The selection committee of the Film Federation of India, one of the country’s major trade bodies, announced the decision on Saturday after watching 29 entries. The 12-member committee was headed by Kannada producer and director Rajendra Babu, and held its deliberations in Mumbai.
29 films 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 were submitted as nominations.
Until now only three films have made it till the last round and were, as a result, nominated in the foreign language film category – Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).
The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to be held on February 24, 2019.
Dhunu a 10 years old girl lives in a remote village in Assam, India amidst raging deprivation. She is a free spirit and her mother, a widower, who struggles daily to bring food to the table and raise her children. However, that does not prevent her from having unrealistic dreams like owning a guitar for her tiny band of village Rockstars boys. Dhunu is a girl who considers herself as capable as boys her age. She and the gangs of boys want to form a rock band. But later the boys slowly stop perusing their dream, whereas Dhunu continues dreaming to own a guitar. Her faith becomes strong when she reads about the law of attraction in a newspaper article. Her unconventional and nonconformist mother raises her with steadfast determination, giving her full freedom of expression and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams. After her father’s death, her mother taking all the responsibilities realizes that it is important that a girl should be qualified herself.
But beyond the poverty of her living, attacks nature’s fury as her village is flooded and worse than that: the societal restrictions that assail her from the day she reaches puberty. Can Dhunu achieve her simple dream or will she, like hundreds of millions of girls in her situation across the world, have to give up on it!