SSHHH… India’s Entry To Oscars Copied From Italian Masterpiece?

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Updated: September 20, 2022 20:13

In a surprise move, the Film Federation of India has chosen a Gujarati film Chhello Show to represent India in the Best International Feature Film category at the 2023 Oscars. The coming-of-age drama is directed by Pan Nalin who has earlier helmed films such as SamsaraValley of Flowers and Angry Indian Goddesses.

Inspired by his own life, Chhello Show tells the story of a small-town boy Samay who befriends a projectionist at a local cinema hall and falls in love with the magic of cinema. The movie stars Bhavin Rabari, Bhavesh Shrimali, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval and Paresh Mehta.

However, story of Chhello Show is eerily similar to the Italian masterpiece Cinema Paradiso which was released in 1988 and won the Academy Award in 1990. Even the posters of both films bear uncanny resemblance.


The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2021 and has won a host of international awards across various film festivals, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain.

The Gujarati film now hit the screens in India on October 14 and will be showcased at selected theatres.

Pan Nalin enthusiastically reacted to the news with a tweet: “OMG! What a night this is going to be! Gratitude to Film Federation of India and thank you FFI jury members. Thank you for believing in the Chhello Show. Now I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens!”


Chhello Show pipped two highly talked-about movies – SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files – in the race to be India’s official Oscars entry. RRR has reportedly enraptured the Western audience and critics alike who are going gaga over this deliriously entertaining movie. The Kashmir Files, on the other hand, won immense acclaim for portraying the atrocities against Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley in 1990. However, both these movies were snubbed in favour of Chhello Show.


So far, no Indian film has ever bagged an Oscar. The last Indian movie which made it to the final five in the Best Foreign Film category was Aamir Khan’s Lagaan in 2001. The other two Indian movies which have made it to the top five are Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1958) and Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1989). 

The next edition of the Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023.


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