The Malayalam movie – Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery is India’s official entry for the 93rd Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.
A 14 member committee of The Film Federation of India announced, on Wednesday, their decision of entering Jallikattu for the Oscars. The film was selected from a lot of 27 films which included the likes of Gunjan Saxena, Shikara, Eeb Allay Ooo!, Gulabo Sitabo, The Sky is Pink and Chintu ka Birthday among others.
Released during October 2019, Jallikattu which stars Anthony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran had received some excellent reviews from the critics. The movie revolves around a buffalo which frees itself from its owner on the eve of its slaughter and runs riot in the town of Idukki in Kerala.
Jallikattu derives its name from the infamous, traditional bull-fighting sport of the same name in the state of Tamil Nadu. In the sport of Jallikattu, a bull is released towards a crowd of people and participants, who try to grab the hump on the bull’s back with both their hands, while it tries to escape.
The main aim of the sport is for the participants to hold on to the bull till it comes to a stop or to remove the flags which are tied to the bull’s horns. Jallikattu is usually played on the day of Pongal in January.
Due to the increase in occurrences of injuries and death among the participants and the animals being forced into the Jallikattu, there have been calls to ban the sport altogether by animal rights activists and other organisations. Though the sport has been banned many a times over the years, it has never stood long enough because of the protests from the local people of Tamil Nadu who consider it to be a part of their culture.
During the last year, India had nominated the Bollywood film Gully Boy for the Oscars, while it was the Assamese film Village Rockstars the year before. India has never won any award in the category of Best International Feature film and Jallikattu stands a chance to create history – not only at the Academy Awards but also by attracting more eyes to this controversial sport.