The Indian crew of Oscar-nominated film “Kavi” have finally got sponsored tickets to attend the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The 19-minute “Kavi” has been made by American director Gregg Helvey. The film, which is in Hindi, tells the story of a young boy who wants to play cricket and go to school, but is forced to work in a brick kiln. It has been nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category at the upcoming 82nd annual Academy Awards that will be held March 7.
“So far we have got huge support from the government but we wish that the president and Rahul Gandhi also see the film. We realise they are busy, but we feel even we are important at this point,” Guneet Monga, co-producer of the film, told IANS.
“I did write to the president’s office and got a response but we didn’t get to meet her. I hope we can seek her blessings before heading for the Oscar,” said Monga.
Monga, along with co-producer Harish Amin, first assistant director Vikas Chandra and 16-year-old lead actor Sagar Salunke are expected to take off from India March 3. Director Helvey will meet them in Los Angeles.
For a film that isn’t backed by any major international production house, arranging the funds to be able to walk the red carpet hasn’t been a cakewalk. Until Saturday morning, the team had no sponsorship for the air fare, but Air India came to their rescue and provided them with Mumbai-New York return tickets.
“We met Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan and after seeing the film, he was very happy, he was moved and encouraged the cast and crew. He recommended us to Arvind Yadav (chairman and managing director, Air India) and we got the tickets. Even Akhil Sahani from the Youth Congress has been extremely supportive and pro-active.
“Sagar didn’t even have a passport till two weeks back but I wrote an e-mail through the Indian passport website and everything was taken care off. As a citizen, I am very proud that things are so well functional in the country whereas people think they are not. We didn’t even have any issues with the visa. We were given good treatment at the embassy and have got a 10-year visa now,” said Monga.
The stay for the team has been sponsored at a four-star hotel in LA by Cox & Kings and their clothes for the red carpet have been arranged by fashion designer Niharika Bhasin Khan, who has designed for films like “Rock On!!”, “Rocket Singh-Salesman of the Year” and “Karthik Calling Karthik”.
“Kavi” was made as a thesis film for Helvey’s film course at the University of South California, but went on to be screened at several international film festivals, won a Student Academy Award last year. But ironically, it hasn’t been screened at any Indian film festival yet.
“We just want all Indians to wish that we get it (the Oscar). And we know, when a billion people will pray, we will get the Oscar home,” Monga said.