If you are someone who had the least of expectations seeing the lackluster promos of the new Salim Ahmed movie And the Oscar Goes To, I must tell you that the movie isn’t that terrible. In fact, I felt it as that slightly above average film which had the potential to be an inspiring tale but couldn’t achieve it due to bloated and hurried writing. Even after having flaws in the way it has been conceived, an earnest Tovino Thomas and the central drama of the film makes And the Oscar Goes To a watchable passable film.
Isshac Ibrahim is our central protagonist. He wanted to make movies and the struggle went on for a lot of years. Finally, he decides to make a script he had penned using his own money. The movie And the Oscar Goes To is mainly focusing on two different stages of the making of that movie. The actual production struggle of the film and then the struggle the movie faces when it gets selected as India’s official Oscar entry.
The major problem I felt with the movie was that it was trying to capture way too many things. First, they are showing the struggle of a director to create his first film and then in the second half, they are showing the whole Oscar drama. And all this is happening in just a span of two hours, 124 minutes to be precise. This makes the screenplay look bloated and at the same time, it is skipping through portions way too quickly. Salim Ahmed has placed sequences and dialogues that sort of intensify the drama and I really liked those bits in the film. But when you look at the movie in totality, there is a lack of depth in establishing the double struggle of Isshac. The movie does portray the struggle of filmmakers effectively and that is one reason I kind of liked this film to an extent.
Tovino Thomas has that endearing quality in his performance as Isshac. He isn’t becoming that extremely dramatic person. We can sense the guy’s perseverance in the attitude and he also has empathy for other human beings and Tovino carries that optimism even in the middle of really difficult situations. Anu Sithara as the leading lady appears only sporadically in the film, but she has a flow in the way she performs which makes Chithra a very likable character. As usual, Siddique was effective as Prince, an NRI Malayali with a good heart. Salim Kumar, Vijaya Raghavan, Sreenivasan, Lal, Mala Parvathy, Appani Sharath, Nikki Rae Hallow are the other major performers here and they were all fine in their respective roles.
It is very evident from the story of the film that it has a strong connection with Salim Ahmed’s first film Adaminte Makan Abu and its Oscar journey. Like I said in the beginning, Salim Ahmed wants to incorporate a lot of variations of struggle in this movie. But when you try to include all that into a smaller runtime, it sort of weakens the emotional core of the film. What Isshac sees at the very end of the movie is a striking image that differentiates between life and cinema. The life philosophies we have seen in almost all the Salim Ahmed films are there in this movie as well. While some of it is presented neatly, there are some that fall flat. The cinematography was fine, while the edits were a bit clunky, just like the screenplay. The music wasn’t really making an emotional impact.
And the Oscar Goes To is neither great nor disappointing. For me, it was a watchable above average movie that should have trimmed its focus on things outside the politics of cinema. One good thing about this movie is that it in a way exposes the lobbying based reality of the Oscars to an audience who might be having a different perception about the Academy Awards.
For me, And the Oscar Goes To was a watchable above average movie that should have trimmed its focus on things outside the politics of cinema.