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Sardar Udham rejected as India’s Oscar entry: Jury member sees ‘hate for British’ in film

Filmmaker Indradip Dasgupta cited the reason for the committee's rejection of the film about the freedom fighter, triggering widespread outrage on social media


Some rather serious users of Twitter have expressed shock at the rejection of the film Sardar Udham as India’s entry for the Academy Awards under the foreign category. Filmmaker Indraadip Dasgupta, who was part of the jury that rejected the entry of the film from India to Oscars remarked, “… it (the film) again projects our hatred towards the British. In this era of globalization, it is not fair to hold on to this hatred.”

Sardar Udham, directed by Shoojit Sircar and featuring Vicky Kaushal, depicts the life of Sardar Udham Singh, a revolutionary freedom fighter. He is recalled for assassinating Michael O’Dwyer in London to avenge the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. The film received widespread applause and an IMDb of 9.2. The film was among 14 shortlisted for India’s official entry to the Oscars.

“Gandhibaba ki jai! Jury member Indraadip Dasgupta explains why Sardar Udham isn’t India’s entry to the Oscars.

Sardar Udham is a well-made production… But it projects our hatred towards the British… it is not fair to hold on to this hatred,'” wrote Chandrachur Ghose who has co-authored Gumnami, a book that claims Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose lived as Bhagwanji or Gumnami Baba in Faizabad (now called Ayodhya) up to 1985, with journalist-turned-activist Anuj Dhar.

Perhaps Dasgupta “hasn’t had the basic education to know that he wouldn’t be able to in comfort in a free country and talk big if the likes of Udham Singh were not there”, Ghose tweeted.

“To equate the story of our freedom struggle where thousands sacrificed everything with hatred for British, to be so scared of offending the skin is utterly shameful,” Ghose wrote.

“With this statement attributed to him, if true, he has lost right to remain an Indian. Can someone start a petition to the British Govt to grant him citizenship?” Ghose concluded.

Scientist and well-known TV personality Anand Ranganathan is incensed. He tweeted, “VILE. FFI jury member Dasgupta rejected Udham as India’s Oscar entry because “it projected our hatred towards the British”.

“Truthfully depicting British atrocities is projecting our hatred? Multi-Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave projected African American hatred towards the Whites?” Ranganathan asked.

A supporter of Hindu causes, entrepreneur and investor Mohandas Pai quoted Ranganathan’s tweet to say, “Are we going to be penalized for showing British brutality during colonial rule? Are we occupied by colonials or are a free country? This is very shameful.” Pai tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah, Anurag Thakur, Smriti Irani, Hardeep Singh Puri and others.

Indraadip Dasgupta is a music director who is known for his compositions in Bengali films. He has directed three movies ― Kedara (2019), Agantuk (2021) and Bismillah (upcoming in 2022). He gave the background score of Begum Jaan in 2017 and was the music director of Babloo Bachelor released in 2020.

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