Chhello Show director Pan Nalin reacts to allegations that film is Cinema Paradiso’s ‘copy’: Let the people decide

India’s official entry to the Oscars, Chhello Show, has been embroiled in one controversy after the other, since the announcement a few days ago. The Gujarati film beat heavy favourite RRR for the spot and many critics and fans were unhappy. Then, there were claims that the film is not even Indian, and some said that it was a ‘copy’ of the iconic Italian film Cinema Paradiso. The film’s director Pan Nalin has now reacted to the controversy. Also read: Film Federation of India is ‘not sure’ if its official Oscars entry Chhello Show is an Indian film

Many social media users had shared posters of Chhello Show and Cinema Paradiso that looked almost identical, both featuring a young boy looking in admiration at a film reel, claiming that Chhello Show (The Last Film Show) was a copy of the 1988 Italian film. Cinema Paradiso won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and also won five BAFTA Awards that year.

On Sunday, Pan, director of Chhello Show, took to Twitter, sharing the same side-by-side comparison of the posters, and wrote, “Copy? Homage? Inspiration? Original? Find out yourself on 14.10.2022 in cinemas near you. Power to the people, let them decide.” The film is slated to release in India on October 14 after it acquired Roy Kapur Films as a distributor for the territory. It has already premiered and been acclaimed at various film festivals around the world but hadn’t had a theatrical release across India yet.

Earlier, the Film Federation of India (FFI), the body that selects India’s official Oscars entry, had defended Chhello Show, saying it was the movie with the best chance at the Academy Awards next year. On Friday, the Federation of West India Cine Employees (FWICE) criticised Chhello Show saying it was ‘not an Indian film’ and that it was a copy of Cinema Paradiso. In response, FFI President TP Aggarwal told Indian Express, “I cannot say anything about that, I am not sure about it.” Reacting to claims about it being a copy of Cinema Paradiso, the FFI president said, “No, I had asked the jury members, they’ve seen the picture so many times and they said no (it is not a copy). Not a single scene is similar in the film. It can be inspired by that, but it is not a copy.”

Chhello Show is a coming-of-age drama starring Bhavin Rabari. The film focuses on a young boy’s fascination with films and filmmaking. It released last year at the Tribeca Film Festival and went on to screen at numerous other festivals worldwide.

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