‘VISARANAI’, the Tamil film to represent India in the Academy Awards, 2017

Tamil Movie 'Visaranai' Image

Tamil Movie 'Visaranai' is India's Official Entry for Oscar Awards 2017

It is a moment of joy and pride for the Tamil Film Industry as well as the movie buffs in whole of India, as the thought provoking Tamil film ‘Visaranai’ has been selected as India’s official entry in the best foreign film category to the 2017 Academy Awards. The announcement was made on Thursday, 22 September.

A jury at the Film Federation of India (FFI) has selected the national award winning, Tamil prison thriller, Visaranai from 29 other films competing to make it to the entry for nominations at the Oscar, 2017. Visaranai  edged out popular Bollywood movies like Sultan and Bajirao Mastani to gain the top-notch position.

The FFI appointed a 12-member jury, headed by film-maker Ketan Mehta, to select the film to represent India in the foreign film category in the Academy Awards next year.

Actor-filmmaker Dhanush is elated over his production under Wunderbar Films, having been selected, and has expressed his gratitude in a statement, saying, “Good evening, everybody. This is just turning out to be a glorious day. After the super positive initial reports for ‘Thodari’, now ‘Visaranai’ has been selected as the official entry to Oscars from India. Proud moment for Wunderbar Films and Vetrimaaran. Dream big.”

Visaranai: A synopsis

Visaranai, literally meaning “interrogation”, has been directed by Vetrimaran and produced by actor Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films. The film is based on the true events from the novel Lock Up written by M. Chandrakumar, popularly known as Auto Chandran, an auto driver from Coimbatore.  The film documents four migrant workers who suffer police brutality and corruption after being jailed on false charges.

Here is all you need to know about the movie:

1. The novel Lock Up written by auto-rickshaw driver, M Chandrakumar, is based on real life police brutality and corruption that he faced in his early life, in 1983.

2. Chandran, along with 3 other friends, was subjected to brutal police treatment in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, to make them accept a crime they did not commit.

3. Chandran got out of this ordeal alive and wrote the novel Lock Up that relives his trials and tribulations at the hands of law.

4. National Award-winning filmmaker, Vetrimaran adopted the story from this novel for his film Visaranai.

5. Dhanush did not have the time to play the lead role in the film, but decided to be a part of the venture by producing it under his home banner Wunderbar Productions.

6. The film narrates the story of four labourers from Tamil Nadu, who work in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. They are arrested for a crime they did not commit and the film goes on to portray the  corruption in the police force.

7. Visaranai released to rave reviews. Critics, celebrities and fans alike, appreciated the movie even as it went on to win three prestigious National Awards, including best Tamil feature film, award for best editing went to Kishore Te, and the best supporting actor went to Samuthirakani.

Visaranai Goes Global

The film was made with the aim of sending it to the international circuits. Vetrimaran and team wanted to screen the film at one of the four major festivals including Venice, Cannes, Toronto and Berlin. And what followed was indeed special for the makers of the film:

  • The film bagged the ‘Cinema for Human Rights’ award in the Venice International Film Festival.
  • This was the first time that a Tamil movie premiered in the competition segment of the 72-year-old history of the Venice International Film Festival.
  • The film received a standing ovation.
  • Visaranai has also won the Amnesty International Italia Award 2015.
  • The international version of Visaranai does not have music and some dialogues have also been muted to suit the international sensibilities.
  • Now, the film is all set to travel to the USA and feature in the race for nomination to the Oscar Awards.

All the Best, Visaranai

Till date, Indian films have not done very well in the Foreign Film Category at the Oscars. Mother India in 1957, Salaam Bombay in 1988 and Lagaan in 2001 are the only Indian films to have been nominated in this category over the years. However, none of these films have won an Academy Award. This is the eighth time that a Tamil Movie has been selected for this category.

It can be rightly said that Tamil cinema has been undergoing a change for the better, a renaissance of sorts, in the last decade. Maps of India wishes Visaranai all the very best and hope that this film brings India many accolades along with an Academy Award in 2017.

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