Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show, produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, Nalin, Dheer Momaya and Mark Duale, has been selected as India’s official entry for the Best International Feature Oscar race.

The Gujarati-language Last Film Show (Chhello Show) is a semi-autobiographical drama that pays homage to the cinema of the past; a reminder of childhood innocence and the universal magic of the movies.

Starring 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. Samay (Rabari) and his pals hitch a ride on the train that passes their remote village and find their way to a rundown movie theater that offers all the entertainment their little hearts desire. When his friends get escorted out after sneaking in without paying, Samay bribes the hungry projectionist with the home-cooked lunch his mother packed for him. And so begins a daily routine; his lunch in exchange for access to the projection booth where wide-eyed Samay watches the world unfold before him on the big screen. But when the theater transitions from 35mm to digital, this safe haven is disrupted and Samay enlists his buddies to construct their own DIY projection apparatus.

Last Film Show world premiered at Tribeca last year and won the Golden Spike at the Valladolid Film Festival in Spain as well as the Audience Award in the World Cinema strand of the Mill Valley Film Festival. It releases in Gujarat and on select screens across India on October 14. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orange Studio are distributing in the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Shochiku Studios has Japan rights and Medusa has Italy.

Nalin is best known for directing award-winning pics Samsara, Valley of Flowers, Angry Indian Goddesses and Ayurveda: Art of Being. Today he said, “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!”

Added Kapur, “We are thrilled and honoured that our film, Last Film Show has been selected to represent India at the Academy Awards. There could not be a more apt time for a film like this one, that celebrates the magic and wonder of cinema and the theatrical experience. When cinemagoing 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!”

The film is produced by Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP and Marc Duale.

Here are the films submitted for the International Feature Film Oscar so far:

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