Only three Indian films have been nominated for the best foreign film Oscar: 1957’s Mother India, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay in 1988, and Lagaan, in 2001. This year’s choice was a surprise, from 40-year-old rookie director Paresh Mokashi: Harishchandrachi Factory, the story of India’s first feature film. Made in 1913, Raja Harishchandra was directed by Dadasaheb Phalke, the D.W. Griffith of Indian cinema.
Wrapped in January, the film has not been released in India. The only other Marathi film submitted for the Oscar was Sandeep Sawant’s Shwaas, in 2004.