Ahead of the 2021 awards season, ICM Partners, the renowned Hollywood film agency has come on board to represent Rohena Gera’s award-winning feature ‘Is Love Enough? Sir’ in the USA, UK and Australia, among other territories. An official Indo-French co-production, Sir premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival (Competition section, Critics Week), where it also won the coveted Gan foundation award for ambitious original features.
Since then, it has travelled to almost 45 international festivals where it has won nearly 20 awards across categories including Best Film, Audience Choice awards and Best Actor awards. Sir has also been successfully distributed theatrically in over countries, including France, where it has the honour of being in the Top 5 Indian films ever, in terms of number of cinema tickets sold (Salaam Bombay, The Lunchbox are also in the top 5).
Watch the trailer of SIR:
While the fate of its Indian theatrical was stuck in the COVID balance since March 2020, it’s now gearing up for its release in cinemas in India this Friday, November 13, 2020. The festive season hopes to bring people back to the theatres after a six month hiatus, with the country crossing the peak of the pandemic in September.
The ICM announcement is sure to put this film on the radar of the Film Federation of India as one of the frontrunners in the selection race for who gets to represent India in the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards 2021. The film stars Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding, Qissa) and Vivek Gomber (Court, A Suitable Boy) in the lead roles.
The Academy has consistently awarded films on politically relevant themes, with strong performances and social commentary. Last year it went a step further and awarded the best film award to Parasite, the South Korean class-thriller, shattering 92 years of Oscar history.
But it remains to be seen whether the jury’s preferences would shift in a year marred by the coronavirus pandemic, and whether bad-news fatigue would lead the 6,500 Academy voters to respond to politically relevant albeit uplifting fare in this strange year.
Sir is a tender love story exploring a contemporary urban-rural class divide, with the domestic help Ratna as the dynamic protagonist, hanging on to her dream against all odds. Writer-Director Rohena Gera adds, “We have a very intimate yet hierarchical relationship with the people who work in our homes. I wanted to explore that without being preachy, and a love story allowed me to do that. To push boundaries, but through love and desire not by telling people what to think.” Given the recent push to diversify the Academy’s ranks, which has led to the voters being ever so slightly younger, female, and international – the makers are upbeat about ticking all the right boxes.
And with ICM Partners coming on board, with an unparalleled legacy in representing Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actors in motion pictures, television and on stage since 1975, the film’s chances look especially buoyant in the lobbying phase that starts in Los Angeles post selection. Los Angeles-based Jessica Lacy, partner and head of independent and international film at ICM Partners, is known for championing the representation of women directors and actors at the global stage.
In the last year itself, she has assembled films and brokered deals for top-billed female filmmakers such as Eleanor Coppola, Jennifer Fox, Karyn Kusama, Sally Potter, Katie Holmes, Clea Duvall, and Miranda Bailey, among others. Sir stands out as one of the few Indian films, written and directed by one of the few Indian women filmmakers, that has charmed the top-billed agency’s executives.
The film, slated for India theatrical release will be distributed by the Mumbai-based boutique film studio Platoon One Films, helmed by Shiladitya Bora who was also associated with earlier Indian Oscar selections such as Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (2016) and Amit Masurkar’s Newton (2017).
Shiladitya Bora, Founder, Platoon One Films says, “We have submitted the film for consideration as India’s Official Entry to the Academy Awards. We believe in the potential of the film as the subject matter is contemporary and relevant, and takes on a social issue (like the Oscar winning film The Help, 2011) through a positive story (like Life is Beautiful, 1997, Best International Film), Green Book (Best Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, 2018). It’s a very special film for us. It is that rare film like The Lunchbox, Namesake etc that will strike a chord with both critics and audience alike.”