Assam filmmaker qualifies for short film competition at Oscars

Filmmaker Maharshi Tuhin Kashyap’s latest short film ‘Mur Ghurar Duronto Goti’ or ‘The Horse from Heaven’ has qualified to compete for the Best Live Action Short Film competition at the Academy Awards (Oscars) presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The qualification comes after the short film won the top prize at the recently-concluded Bengaluru International Short Film Festival 2022 in the Indian Competition Section. The Bengaluru International Short Film Festival is one of the Academy Awards qualifying short film festivals held in India.

“We are happy to announce that ‘The Horse from Heaven’ directed by Maharshi Kashyap is the winner of the Indian Competition Section at the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival 2022 and will qualify as an entry to the Academy short competition section (fiction),” writes Anand Varadaraj, festival director, BISFF 2022 in an official communication to the winners.

‘Mur Ghurar Duronto Goti’
A still from ‘Mur Ghurar Duronto Goti’

The Oscars do not directly accept individual entries for short film competition, since there would be far too many submissions to sort through. Instead, they choose a few international short film festivals from across the world, the winner of which is immediately eligible to compete for an Oscar provided they fulfil the other necessary criteria.

The 15-minute short film written and directed by Maharshi Tuhin Kashyap is about a man who thinks he has the fastest horse in the world and wants it to win the horse races in the city, but what he actually has is not a horse but a donkey. Absorbing shades of surrealism and dark humour, the film is also a formal attempt to translate the form of Ojapali cinematically.

“It feels like a dream. Even though I don’t think an award can ever validate any piece of ‘art’ or ‘non-art’, the Oscar is still a dream I haven’t given up on since I first realised I wanted to be a filmmaker in Class 8,” shares Maharshi who is currently a final year student at the Satyajit Ray Film And Television Institute, Kolkata.

Surprisingly, the film starring veteran actor from Assam, Atul Pachani in the leading role, and shot by Arnab Laha and edited by Pulkit Phillip with Arnab Borah and Somnath Gogoi as sound designers, is an institute project at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata where the crew members are the final year students.

‘The Horse from Heaven’ has previously been selected for the prestigious Kolkata International Film Festival 2022 and The Himalayan Film Festival 2021, among many others festivals.

“I am learning everyday about how to take a film forward in its journey, and I feel it’s a pretty difficult job! But more than anything, I’m grateful that we won the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival, which qualified the movie for the Oscars and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate in that regard. We are eager to see where ‘The Horse From Heaven’ takes us from here”, shares Maharshi with a hope for the journey ahead.

Assam filmmaker qualifies for short film competition at Oscars
Assam filmmaker qualifies for short film competition at Oscars

The short film is produced by Nilanjana Rudra with art direction by Vipin Rohilla and sound mixing by Archisman Mukherjee while Mahak Gupta served as colourist for the film. The film also stars Snehankar Chakraborty, Abhijit Nag, Gaurav Haloi, Ashish Chatterjee, and Sanatan Karmakar.

The Ojapali artists who have helped realize the vision of the film includes Oja Nayan Jyoti Nath and Pali Nagen Deka, along with Bhalaram Nath, Rupjyoti Chowdhury and Dwip Jyoti Nath while Vishal Sharma, Tanmoy Saud and Sunalika Das have served as assistant directors in the film.

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About Kalpa Jyoti Bhuyan

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The writer is a MA Political Science student of Gauhati University. He did his graduation from Cotton University. Apart from writing, he is a movie enthusiast.

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