Filmmaker and actor Aparna Sen has denied allegations of sabotaging the selection of Vivek Agnihotri-directed Tashkent Files as India’s official nomination to the Oscars.
Unsubstantiated forwards and numerous posts online alleged that Tashkent Files was the frontrunner for India’s entry to Oscars , but Aparna Sen, who chaired the jury chosen by the Film Federation of India, chose Gully Boy instead.
Speaking to The Quint, Aparna Sen rubbished the allegations and asserted, "Gully Boy won the nomination because it has both artistic merit and popular appeal. It won the nomination because it secured the largest number of votes in the committee."
A source familiar with the proceedings of the selection committee told The Quint that neither ‘Tashkent Files’ nor ‘Uri’ were in the shortlist of films that were considered by the committee for the Oscar nomination.
Smear Campaign Against Me for Signing Open Letter Against Lynchings: Sen
Reacting to the trolling she is facing online over the issue, Sen added, "Whoever is writing these forwards has obviously never served on a jury and has no idea about how juries function. The film that gets the most votes is selected, which Gully Boy did. The chairperson's vote had the same weightage as that of all other members."
“This is a ridiculous smear campaign that is going on against me just because I was one of the signatories of the open letter against mob lynchings. The forward even clearly refers to the lynching letter.”Aparna Sen, Filmmaker
‘Misinformation About Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar’
Those attacking Sen also alleged that the veteran actor had favoured Gully Boy over Tashkent Files because Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar were also signatories to the letter that Sen and 48 others had written to the Prime Minister about mob lynchings earlier this year.
Countering this, Sen said, “Neither Shabana Azmi nor Javed Akhtar were signatories to the letter, contrary to what is being claimed in the forward.”
Copies of the open letter, widely available online, corroborate that Azmi and Akhtar were not among the 49 eminent personalities who signed the plea against mob lynchings addressed to PM Modi.
Reacting to the trolling, Aparna Sen also posted on Facebook: “Now this is the kind of trolling some uninformed BJP supporters indulge in! A pack of lies!
(1) Neither Shabana nor Javed Saab were signatories to our open letter to the PM!
(2) A jury chairperson DOES NOT decide which film should be India's entry for the Oscars. The film that gets the most votes is selected, which Gully Boy did. The chairperson is merely the moderator.”
The filmmaker also shared the complete post that accuses her of ‘sabotaging Tashkent Files’ entry to the Oscars.’