Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan will be hoping for third time lucky at next year’s Oscars, after the latest movie he produced was chosen as India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category.
“Peepli Live” — a biting satire about the divide between rural and urban India and the problem of farmer suicides — beat 26 other films to be submitted for the longlist, Film Federation of India secretary general Supran Sen said.
Khan, who produced the film, welcomed the nomination and said it stood a “very good chance” of success.
Two other films he has produced have previously been selected as India’s official Oscar entry.
“Lagaan” (Tax) — a period drama about a group of Indian villagers who challenge their British colonial masters to a cricket match — made the final five in 2002 but was beaten by the Bosnian film “No Man’s Land”.
“Taare Zameen Par” (Stars On Earth), acclaimed for raising awareness about dyslexia, failed to be shortlisted in 2009.
Khan also starred in “Rang de Basanti” (Colour Me Saffron), about a British documentary maker who wants to make a film about Indian freedom fighters, which was India’s entry in 2007 but again did not make the cut.
Only two other Indian films have been shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film category: director Mehboob Khan’s classic “Mother India” in 1958 and US-based director Mira Nair”s “Salaam Bombay!” (Hello Bombay!) in 1989.
Khan has made a name for himself as one of the Indian film industry’s leading actor-producer-directors, combining offbeat subjects with high-quality production values and expert marketing.
His previous two leading roles, “Ghajini” and “3 Idiots” both beat box office records.
India’s official Oscar entry in 2009 — a Marathi-language film about the father of Indian cinema, “Harischandrachi Factory” — failed to make the shortlist.