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THE GOOD ROAD vs. THE LUNCH BOX – A social media conversation

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Here is a social networking site conversation about THE GOOD ROAD directed by Gyan Correa and THE LUNCH BOX directed by Ritesh Batra. A controversy has broken out about TGR having been picked up by the Film Federation of India (FFI) as the official entry for the best film Oscar in the foreign language category of the Academy Awards in preference to THE LUNCH BOX many feel had a better chance of winning an Oscar. We have shortened the names of the participants to hide their identity. Please go through it and enjoy it.

SSL: Any idea where THE GOOD ROAD can be watched? Is it out on DVD?
SSL: It would be real bad for the Producers / Distributors / Exhibitors – if we don't get to see it now!
JS: Will be soon! Stunning visuals!
DS: Same question.

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SS: We shall request, force and compel Gyan to keep a screening for us
SSL: I do not know Gyan personally…but pl do let me know if there is a screening around… A treat -promised!
JS: Sad part is, if it was not representing in the Oscars, no one would be discussing it ! too happy to call Bombay films as Indian cinema, completely oblivious of the little gems from the interiors !
SS: I will SSL, Gyan has promised that …

SSL: Oh Wow! SS Thanks
SSL: Yeah…we often forget..Cinema exists outside Bollywood too… Lets see this one.
VB: this film is a national award winner last year…. JS true words joy! i am appalled at the blatant pomposity of assumption that come what may the lunchbox was an oscar contender! a little dignity would have helped!
VB: SSL… NFDC needs to get its act together regarding the films they produce. they seem to forget to show the film to people
SSL: VR Any idea / news on THE GOOD ROAD? Any possibility of the film being released anytime soon- in theater / on DVD??

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IT: VB, when one makes as good a film as Lunchbox, expectations are high. There is no point in making a controversy out of it.
SS: Filmmakers here are obsessed with making award winning film….so many I have come across say at the start of the project…' This film I am making is award winning'…. you don't make films for awards… you make a good film and it get awards…Other thing, when film is appreciated then they are convinced that there could be nothing better than theirs….they start congratulating themselves with the firm belief that award is already won….awards….Other…See More
SSL: We need to see the film before we can say whether the decision was a good one or a bad one…till then there is no comparison and no controversy. Yes some people who were associated with LUNCHBOX are disappointed. It is very natural for them- for they all worked hard on it but since they too have not seen the film – nothing can be said.

VB: Honestly SSL who are we to judge. We need to see the film as an audience and not as critics. All of us sail in the same boat some time or the other. As filmmakers we need to be fair in competition, generous in praise and dignified in defeat because the shoe will fit the other foot some time or the other!
SSL: V ppl have a right to react if an injustice has been done but here we do not know as none of us have seen the other film…on its own LUNCH BOX is a nice warm slice of life film..but beyond this I would like to understand FFI -what exactly they look for when selecting a film to represent – The BEST film or do they select a film that's likely to win the nomination in the last 5 films at Oscars?

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IT: SSL, we had seen films like 'Jeans' going to Oscars instead of Bandit Queen which could have got a nomination. But lately since last few years, FFI is getting its act together and putting up a jury which seems to know its mind. Bhaag Milkha is a typical Hindi movie and such a biopic may not go down well with Academy, though a similar film Lagaan was nominated. They say they discussed three film for 5 hours and finally decided for The Good Road. I am sure they had their reasons.
SSL: EeessssHHH Don't remind me of 'Jeans' IT That was bloody humiliating! I remember how shattered I was when Bandit Queen also got entangled in various issues and not sent. I remember being depressed about Even last year they selected BARFI over PST….this is a never ending story….wish somebody makes FFI more sensible and more professional;l / transparent. Why can't we do it? Now till we get to see this GOOD ROAD will not know who beat whom and why?.

AP: As long as people are debating between 'the good road' and 'lunchbox' we in a good place. If they cld send Barfi last year they have really matured by not sending BMB
VB: SSL I don't think any 'injustice' has been done. We have every right to have a view and an opinion but not to judge. So you saying I'd an injustice has been done is not fair. Injustice to whom? To a film that is backed by so many corporates? That is lobbying. TGR I am sure has no such backing. I know the director well and I know his capabilities. He is not capable of making a bad film.
VB: And how does it matter? Let's celebrate for the filmmaker. Besides who give a damn about our opinion.
MS: The discussion on The Good Road, Lunchbox is wonderful unless one gets a shocker that the official entry is Chennai Express… the way once they sent Eklavya
AP: Hahaha chennai express show cases india from kanyakumari to Kashmir. Send it to the west hahaha

AP: Btw I haven't watch lunch box or the good road. And honestly Oscar doesn't excite me. So can't get too passionate about this discussion. And in our industry we make a fuss of B grade films like fast and furious and which indian actress will be in it.
SSL: VB I know nothing about TGR or the Director of the film and since the film still remains unknown means it has nobody's backing but I must say LUNCHBOX is lucky to have so many big names / producers associated with it. How did this happen? I am sure when Batra must have started – he many not have had any money which probably forced Irrfan to become an EP as I am being told but once the film was ready – he found many more Producers – which is good thing to happen for a small film. Any idea – how this happened? If this becomes a trend – good for ppl making small gems. SOT is another good example. Maybe same can be done to this TGR -if it's really deserving film for beyond a point it's an Indian film that's going to representing our country's cinema. Those who can should come forward to project it well….Maybe for this Vikramjit Roy (NFDC) will have to take the initiative.
AP: Lunchbox was first identified and discovered by Lydia. Who has the credit of one of the executive producers I think not producer tho. She i believe liked the script had faith and took it to Irfan. Irfan came on board and coz of Irfan Daar put in the initial money. Then the rest came one by one
AP: Honestly was v surprised to find her not taking the producer credit and not seeing her in Cannes. This film I think happened coz of her

SSL: But what did rest of the Producers brought in? I think there are some 10 names as Producers, Co-Producers, Associate Producers…at what stage did they all come in and how did they all contribute to the project. Definitely not in terms of money as the film was anyway made… For this is something rare for an Indian film – to find so many backers for a small film. This in itself was quite a feat! Something tells me perhaps it must have been GUNEET MONGA entrepreneurial skill. I don't know I may be wrong. Maybe Anurag can explain it better.
AP: What is there to explain. It's a good script. Irfaan was attached to it from day one even before anyone here heard it. It's not insanely expensive
AP: It's just this industry that puts blinkers on so don't see the obvious. Lydia did. Irfaan did. Daar did. Guneet it
AP: Guneet did

SSL: Cherry on the cake – K jo & UTV too came on! I think mainly to release the film. I think I saw some three moe names of some foreigners as Producers….So looks like it was actually DAAR's investment and theri baby,,..Guneet saw the production through….something like this I suppose
AK: it was developed by guneet and riteish and took a year to source the finance..
RKS: 17 co-producers for your kind information. Guneet Monga ki jai. Pakdo usko, jadoo ki chadi hai uske paas.
RO: What a wonderful year for indian cinema, its time America sees more than Ray and new voices from India and accepts them.

SSL: 17 Co-Producers! She must have offered a good deal to all! She definitely knows how to crack a deal and make a project happen!
RKS: Deal nahin, networking ka mamala hai.
SSL: Ok!
RKS: Correa's film is a bad choice though. I have watched it a bit. The Lunchbox has some international buzz thanks to its Critics' Week selection and that way would have been a better choice. There are quite a few better films entered in that Oscar category. You know my views on the film, must have read the review I hope.
IT: Nation will celebrate an Oscar win for India whenever it happens the same way we celebrated Ms. World title in mid 90's. Remember Slumdog? Its not only about a nation of underachievers its also about perception that Oscars is akin to world championship. Cannes, Venice, Toronto or Sundance don't matter to media who are cinema illiterates, yet fill half their airtime slots with film gossip and present glossy supplements as news which is nothing but paid advertisements.

RKS: I don't think Correa's film will even be in the short list of 20.
AK: IT.. Oscars are not only about winning like Cannes are not only about selections..Udaan got us support to make four films, those four have got us support to make more.. Most funds from outside.. Our life styles remain the same but we have produced many more new film makers.. We had a lot and have more new very very risky films beyond what you can imagine dependent on investment dependent on a nomination.. Guneet sold her house to make monsoon shootout and I still have made a beautiful home inside the versova slum.. Problem is all of you are so clueless, living in your ivory towers, not knowing 10 % truth about us and what we are doing , not making a single rupee profit, making films. You all need to get out of the well and see how it all works.. It's sad to see VB commenting and so the others who are so so so clueless about what they are talking, and it's impossible to the point of sounding like a fool to explain anything.. You sit and log in and read and hate the world thinking you all did not get your due, well you never will if you stay and just be bitter about it.. My life was not different than yours.. And it's not like you all did not get your chances, but you blew it, yes you can blame it n whoever but you had it.. There is much more out there n the world that only cares about the work and not self importance.. It's sad to read some comments on the thread from people I have respected but then that's it.. I am not explaining anymore.. Find out yourself or continue to be bitter about it..

VB: AK yes its sad to see people commenting about a film without knowing facts and figures. I too agree. I am not commenting on how difficult it was for you to make a film. Its always difficult for everyone to make a film. Its sad that out of the lot you decide to single my name. Yes i was appalled as a viewer and a fellow filmmaker to read the comments this morning in the paper of the shocked reactions of your cast and crew over not being selected for the oscars. Tell me… no dont tell me… is it not arrogance to assume that one's film is the obvious choice for the oscars? i too have made a film and it is a very nice film. after much trials and trepidations it has finally seen a festival. i am thrilled. my whole unit is thrilled. but i cannot all the time that the film got rejected bring others down and give them a lecture about sitting in ivory towers and being clueless. sorry…. that isnt how it works. what do you know about the difficulty i faced or my producer faced and we still continue to face? none of us are tom toming about it. no one blew any chances. and no one is jealous of you, so get over it. life's a bitch AK… what to do… sometimes it bites you in the bum! dont like it cover your bum! had you taken the criticism gracefully as we took our rejections and losses gracefully, the respect one had for you would have increased ten fold. but to run everyone down who did not agree with your arrogance is shameful! i too dont want to explain too much… but if you think that by naming me is going to make you the bigger guy then have your day in the sun!

SSL: AK, What you have achieved is commendable and the way Guneet managed to get LUNCH BOX a good visibility with various tie-ups is something terrific. It's not without a reason Guneet is considered one of the most enterprising / dynamic producers around hence invited you to share the insight as to how you guys manage to do so many films…It's important that this breed of filmmakers grow inf the concept of so called commercial films have to change…Now coming down to talking about living in ivory towers and being clueless is uncalled for – for each of us I think is struggling in our own way to make our films…so not proper to run down anyone..but yes – it would be great If you or Guneet can share your stories on how you could manage to produce all different films in volumes. That's something no Institute teaches but it may benefit many more filmmakers! And you too would not like your community to be clueless. / VB Lets keep the argument informative and civil and not get personal. Peace be to all.
VB: SSL I did not start it…. And slightly rough of you to tell me to keep it civil and informative and not get personal. Strange isn't it that you have the guts to tell me the above but not to the person who decided to get personal and uncivil. You know what SSL you have just revealed your self. Sad…
IT: AK, I could never understand what made you defriend me on fb. Anyway that's your prerogative to do so. I am under no illusion that you or Sriram or Dibakar or Imtiaz are successful without having talent. Talent is a real thing and it cannot be fake. All of you are hugely talented people. I had been witness to your brave struggle against an invincible machinery that our industry was at the time you were dreaming to change it and you guys have changed it for sure and forever. I would read your articles in Midday and thought here was a guy who was not afraid to take on the mightiest if they do not fit into his visionary and brave world. And yes, people like me also had their chances and yes, at least I blew them off. It's only me who is to be blamed. It was not intentional. It was just lack of talent on my part. You don't live in a slum. You live in a wonderful world of your dreams and no ivory tower could match its magic. If I cannot come out of some well, it's of my own making and I am sure it would take me nowhere. I loved Lunchbox (my threads on Sutapa's and SSL's posts). I have not seen The Good Road so never commented on it's worthiness.

SSL: Uff! I think AK is going through stressful times himself with his film not making it to Oscars and he reacted in a certain way to the discussion here…I told him his comments were uncalled for and since you too reacted to his outburst – I said lets not get personal. There are so many times on FB such intense discussions happen that WE MOST OF THE TIME FORGET TO ATTACK THE ARGUMENT AND BEGIN ATTACKING THE PERSON…the whole purpose of discussion to – to learn / enlighten and exchange ideas get lost. This I wanted to tell you as well as AK….though now I feel I should have used the way words for you and AK instead for writing separately. My mistake I wrote differently to you and AK but the bottom line is that let's keep the discussion healthy and positive. We have bigger battles to fight outside..let's preserve our energy for that and not have serious differences amongst ourselves. Hope you get me right!
SSL: BTW Guys am going to be away from FB for sometime -since traveling to Nagaland tomorrow early morning…We have miles to go before we ALLl go to sleep….lets make rest of our journey exciting, beautiful and memorable! Cheers!
AK: Yes VB, we are not assuming, read the indie wire, network times, la times, everyone has named lunchbox as the obvious nominee.. Not just that will show you personal mails.. The film did the round, the route that takes you to the oscars.. Do your research,, read, google.. Read Hollywood reporter and variety and everything that matters.. I am not delusional and I am not dreaming

SKJ: I have not seen THE GOOD ROAD, but for LUNCHBOX i can say its a film which deserves. any way, there is a difference between award and reward…LUNCHBOX is collecting rewards…and that is good.
LK: AK sir plz reply to my msg i hv in boxed u. In hope
LK: Sketch of AK sir
VB: AK neither did I say you were delusional nor that you are dreaming. Whatever it is there was absolutely no need for you to single me out and to say things like people live in ivory towers and stuff like that… We are all filmmakers walking our own paths and fighting our own battles. As far as I am concerned a committee selected TGR … I know the director and I know he's good. Last year Paan Singh should have gone or that malayalam film that I am sorry I don't remember the name… They didn't… Barfi went. I didn't hear Tigmanshu or anyone else throwing a tantrum . Whether you agree or not all I am saying is be a sport. Ok you didn't make it… Don't run the other guy down. Not fair.
13 hours ago  Like  2

SKJ: @VB…:- so u think everyone who r making film r filmmakers..i dont think so…i dont consider sajid khan a filmmaker…
VN: I just went thru this thread and found it interesting. A mix of disappointment for LUNCHBOX and some curiosity for an obscure TGR which apparently nobody in this thread has obviously seen. VB is right AK in what she is saying. We're all admirers of your struggle and your success, both, but never should that make you judgemental about fellow film makers, especially women, as the struggle for them in ten fold, much more than it is for men, not to say that it is easy for men either. Grow up guys, FFI has never been, or never will be the judge on what should be the Oscar nominee from India, yet it is. The guys sitting out there are unparalleled shame on authority on selection. One day the roads will open, when the Oscars permit film makers to submit their own films directly to the Academy, instead of leaving it to the choice of a bunch of nincompoops who just drift along with the pressure that guides the flow.

BS: Surprised at the chain … I was at Toronto where Cameroon Bailey tipped it as an Oscar contender … Saw it a few days at the Atlantic Film Festival … I have liked the film and don't understand what the problem is … Ritesh is one of the sincerest guys I know of … and this success hasn't come to him with a toss of a coin … Whether disappointing or not, it is a good film by most measures … Awards are not important .. To make a film out of your conviction is success by itself … And it's not an Ek Tha Tiger !!! So, why don't we just be happy at the success … If at all, it augers well for indie cinema … can't do any harm to anyone … I find the digs and cross digs unnecessary … We all know what grind one goes through to make a film that you want to make … !!!
SS: Hi Bhaiya. Asked around, will try to get a dvd fro u. its not officially out though. happy Journey.
VB: SKJ I don't know you and I think what you said is totally disregardable

RKS: I have watched TGR partly. I don't think it's a good choice vis-a-vis TLB in terms of its Oscar winning prospects. It won't even go beyond the prilims. TLB had the buzz, and most importantly a US distributor in Sony Classics with the wherewithal to push the film. It would have made it to the short list though I'm not sure if it would have been nominated or won. FFI's decision seems really stupid to me. They should review it if they are wise. What more, Correa should tell them that he would prefer TLB to be sent for the Oscars. That will be great and I'll say hats off to him for that, even lie down at his feet in a show of absolute reverence, 'sashatang dandvat'. We must develop the capacity to look at things objectively and have the courage to be just and fair to the better guy disregarding our self serving goals, especially when it comes to representing the country at some international forum.

AMMV: Hello SSL, in case you are not already in Nagaland… I watched The Good Road yesterday. It's a sweet and well-shot film. But The Lunchbox is utterly beautiful. The problem though is that the FFI does not have clarity about the reasons for their selection. IMHO the things that should matter to the FFI in their selection are: (a) the film's quality, of course (b) the relatability to the US audience – meaning, out of our best films we needn't necessarily send the one we consider No. 1 in terms of quality, but the one out of that lot that is most likely to appeal to the Academy's sensibilities and is most relevant to the socio-political context in the US at the time (c) winnability in other respects – how has the film fared at festivals abroad, what kind of distributor backing has it got in the West, does it have a substantial budget to market itself at the Oscars, etc. Much as I liked The Good Road, I feel The Lunchbox scores over it greatly on all three fronts. Or to give you another example: Ship Of Theseus totally blew me away but I'd say The Lunchbox scores over SOT when it comes to (b) and (c) therefore in a choice between these two, the practical choice again would be The Lunchbox. I won't be drawn into any acrimony, but the reason why I'm commenting on this thread is that I realized that no one (and by that I mean not a single person I know who's been saying The Lunchbox would have been a better choice than The Good Road) has actually watched The Good Road. I find that unfair to TGR and simply gives FFI an excuse not to take this debate seriously. Not that I'm saying they'd care otherwise, but you know what I mean?
VR: SSL you can buy it off the shelf. We have launched the DVD.

(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)



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