Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show is India’s official entry for the 2023 Oscars

Chhello Show (Last Film Show) is India’s official entry to the 95th Academy Awards. Photo: Tree-Shul Media Solutions

The Gujarati film, Last Film Show (Chhello Show), is India’s official entry to the Best International Feature Film category of the 95th Academy Awards. The film trounced movies like The Kashmir Files and RRR in the selection.

Pan Nalin is best known for directing award-winning and visually-striking films such as Samsara, Valley of Flowers, Angry Indian Goddesses and Ayurveda: Art of Being. Chhello Show is a part-autobiographical drama that captures the charm of the western region of Gujarat while paying homage to the cinema of the past. It is a reminder of childhood innocence and the universal magic of the movies.

The film stars Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval and Rahul Koli. The story is set against the backdrop of cinemas in India witnessing a massive transition from celluloid to digital, where hundreds of single-screen cinemas stand dilapidated or have disappeared altogether.

Chhello Show had its world premiere as the opening film at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival and has won multiple awards across various international film festivals, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain, where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical run.

Director Pan Nalin says, “I could have never imagined such a day would come and bring light and celebration of light. Chhello Show has been enjoying love from around the world, but there was an ache in my heart that how do I make India discover it? Now I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens! Thank you FFI, Thank you, jury.”

Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur says, “We are thrilled and honored that our film has been selected to represent India at the Academy Awards. There could not be a more apt time for a film like this that celebrates the magic and wonder of cinema and the theatrical experience. When cinema-going around the world has been disrupted by a pandemic, it reminds audiences anew of the first time they fell in love with the experience of watching a movie in a darkened cinema hall. It is a matter of great pride for us to represent our country with this film, and with the backing of our partners Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio, we will make sure that we give it our best shot at the Academy Awards!”

Producer Dheer Momaya said,” We are very excited. This is just a first step. We aim to get a nomination and eventually win. Hoping we can make our country proud!”

Having captured the hearts of critics and audiences across the world the Gujarati-language coming-of-age drama will release in theatres in Gujarat and on select screens across India on October 14.

Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio serve as international distributors for the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Meanwhile, Shochiku Studios serves as the Japanese distributor, while Medusa will bring the film to Italian cinemas.

The film is produced by Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP, and Marc Duale in co-production with Virginie Films and Incognito Films.

Thankfully, this year’s selection has been free from controversy, which was being falsely generated on social media with the Hindi and Telugu films mentioned above, because one was a political thriller and docu-drama, while the other was a commercial entertainer that many disliked only for being in that genre. Other possibles in the race were Rocketry – The Nambi Effect, Jhund, Badhaai Do and Anek.

As Pan Nalin told E Times, “I am overjoyed: I am an outsider and I have succeeded in taking my film to several parts of the globe.To answer your question of what could have gone in the favor of: Chhello Show, it celebrates the spirit of India that thinks big. It’s the story of a guy who thinks of making it big in cinema and nothing stops him. The message is: Follow your dream and you will succeed. Importantly, the narrative has been rolled out in a very simple and organic way.”

The film is semi-autobiographical as Nalin was himself born and brought up in Adtala village in Saurashtra. It also highlight the culture of single-screen cinema and 35mm celluloid films in India.





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