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Focus was to make a simple film, says Koozhangal director on the movie’s selection as India’s Oscar entry

For debutant director Vinothraj PS, it is a surreal moment to have his first film Koozhangal represent India at the 94th Academy Awards next year. The Tamil-language drama follows an alcoholic-abusive husband, who, after his long-suffering wife runs off, sets out with his young son to find her and bring her back.

After being a festival favourite and travelling to several international movie galas like Shanghai International Film Festival and Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Koozhangal was announced as India’s official entry in the international feature film category at the Academy Awards by the Film Federation of India on Saturday.

Starring newcomers Chellapandi and Karuththadaiyaan, the feature titled Pebbles in English, has previously won the Tiger Award at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam in February 2021. Vinothraj said he is overwhelmed with the love coming the film’s way and expressed gratitude to the jury members who selected his film from among the 14 other movies. “It is like three years of effort is paying off now. We didn’t expect the film to be recognised at this level, so we focused on making an honest and simple film. We didn’t have any expectations even like being appreciated at festivals, including Rotterdam. I am overwhelmed and so is everyone in the team. We are all excited and emotional. The actual journey has started now; we need to make sure we create enough chances to be in the final nomination. We have started discussions and are planning out things,” said the 33-year-old director. — PTI

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