Antony Varghese in a still from Jallikattu. (Image courtesy: AntonyVarghese)


  • Jallikattu was directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery
  • The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival
  • The film was also screened at the Busan festival

New Delhi:

The Malayalam film Jallikattu has been picked by the Film Federation of India as this year’s Oscar entry in the Best International Feature Film category, reports news agency PTI. Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, was critically acclaimed when it released last year and has done the rounds of the festival circuit with great success. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was also screened at the Busan festival. Jallikattu, taking its name from the traditional sport of bull taming, is set in a small village and tells the story of a butcher who loses control of the animal at a ritual slaughter.

Jallikattu, winner of several awards at film festivals across the country, stars Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Santhy Balachandran, Sabumon Abdusamad and Jaffar Idukki. It is based on a short story by the writer S Hareesh titled Maoist.

Jallikattu was picked from a list of 27 films that included Chhapaak, The Disciple, Shakumtala Devi, Chhalaang, Gulabo Sitabo, The Sky Is Pink and Eeb Allay Ooo! “It is a film that really brings out the raw problems which are there in human beings, that is we are worse than animals,” filmmaker Rahul Rawail, Chairman, Jury Board, Film Federation of India, told reporters in an online press conference, reports PTI.

The Oscars renamed the Best International Feature Film category last year – it was previously called Best Foreign Language Film.


India has had little luck with the Oscar entries for the last few years – Gully Boy, Village Rockstars, Newton, Visaranani and previous entries have all failed to make the Oscar shortlist. The only Indian films to have been nominated for an Oscar so far have been Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.

South Korean film Parasite was the big winner at the Oscars this year, winning not just the Best International Feature but also the Best Picture as well as Best Director for Bong Joon-ho.

Next year’s Oscars will take place in April, rescheduled from February so as to extend the eligibility period for films hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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