A still from Gujarati film 'Chhello Show'
A still from Gujarati film 'Chhello Show' Image Credit: YouTube

India has selected its official entry for the upcoming edition of the Academy Awards and it’s neither ‘RRR’ nor ‘The Kashmir Files’, but is the Gujarati film ‘Chhello Show’ (‘The Last Film Show’).

The Film Federation of India made the announcement about the selection on Tuesday.

'Chhello Show' is a part-autobiographical drama that captures the charm of the western region of Gujarat while paying homage to the cinema of the past. It is a reminder of childhood innocence and the universal magic of the movies.

The film stars 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, where hundreds of single-screen cinemas stand dilapidated or have disappeared altogether.

'Chhello Show' had its world premiere as the opening film at Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Film Festival and has won multiple awards across various international film festivals, including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain, where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical run.

Director Pan Nalin 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! Thank you FFI, Thank you Jury."

Born in Adtala village in Lathi Taluka of Amreli district, Gujarat, and originally named Nalin Kumar Pandya, Nalin is the son of a tea vendor father, who own a stall in Khijadiya railway station near Amreli.

He did his bachelor in Fine Arts from the MS University of Baroda, after which he went to learn design at the NID (National Institute of Design).

While studying at NID, Nalin started making movie clips with 16mm and 8mm cameras. He worked as a videographer in Indian weddings to finance his passion for films.

He then made his way to Mumbai where he initially worked as a production runner and later directed several advertisement films.

Nalin made his feature directorial debut with ‘Samsara’ in 2001. The film instantly put him in the limelight as it was well received all over the world.

Nalin is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, in its prestigious Director’s Branch of Class of 2022. He is also a member of the French Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema (Cesars) in its coveted Directors wing.

In addition, he has directed other films such as ‘Valley of Flowers’, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ and ‘Ayurveda: Art of Being’.