Oscar 2024: India-Set To Kill A Tiger Loses Best Documentary Feature Award To 20 Days in Mariupol

Oscar 2024: India-Set To Kill A Tiger Loses Best Documentary Feature Award To 20 Days in Mariupol

20 Days in Mariupol is a troubling first-person account of the initial days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022

PTIUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 07:25 AM IST
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"To Kill a Tiger", set in a village in Jharkhand, lost to "20 Days in Mariupol" in the best documentary feature category at the 96th edition of the Academy Awards.

Directed by Ukrainian filmmaker and war correspondent Mstyslav Chernov, "20 Days in Mariupol" is a troubling first-person account of the initial days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

In his award acceptance speech, an emotional Chernov said he wished he didn't have to make the film at all and urged Russia to cease aggression in his home country.

"This is the first Oscar in Ukrainian history, and I'm honoured. Probably I will be the first director on this stage to say I wish I'd never made this film. I wish to be able to exchange this to Russia never attacking Ukraine. I wish for them to release all the hostages, all the soldiers who are protecting their land, and all the civilians who are in their jails.

"We can make sure that the history record is set straight and the truth will prevail, and that the people of Mariupol, and those who have given their lives will never be forgotten. Because cinema forms memories and memories form history," said the filmmaker, who has also narrated the documentary feature.

Chernov spent 20 days with his colleagues in besieged Mariupol after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. The director compiled footage that he collected in Mariupol together with the team from Frontline and the Associated Press (AP).

"20 Days in Mariupol" had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition. It was also Ukraine's official entry to the best international feature film at the 96th Academy Awards.

A Canadian production, "To Kill a Tiger" is directed by Delhi-born Nisha Pahuja, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in Toronto. It had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2022 where it won the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film.

The film follows Ranjit's uphill battle to find justice for his 13-year-old daughter who was abducted and later sexually assaulted by three men.

"Ranjit goes to the police, and the men are arrested. But Ranjit's relief is short-lived, as the villagers and their leaders launch a sustained campaign to force the family to drop the charges. A cinematic documentary, 'To Kill a Tiger' follows Ranjit's uphill battle to find justice for his child," according to the official website of "To Kill a Tiger".

The film is a production of Notice Pictures Inc, in co-production with the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada. The film was produced by Cornelia Principe, Pahuja under Notice Pictures Inc, and the NFB's David Oppenheim.

"To Kill A Tiger" is executive produced by actors Dev Patel, Mindy Kaling, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, and surgeon-bestselling author Atul Gawande. It premiered on Netflix hours before Oscars day.

Last year, India struck gold at the Academy Awards with "Naatu Naatu", the foot-tapping number from the film "RRR", winning best original song Oscar and "The Elephant Whisperers" earned the Oscar in the documentary short category. It was the first time two India-made productions bagged the cinema world's biggest prize.

Other Oscar nominees in the best documentary feature category were "Bobi Wine: The People's President", "The Eternal Memory", and "Four Daughters".

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 2024 Oscars are being held at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles.

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