The Film Federation of India, the apex body that decides Indian entry for the Oscars, and 'The Lunchbox' director Ritesh Ritesh Batra were locked in a wordy duel over the selection of 'The Good Road' for the best foreign film category.
In a strongly worded letter to Ritesh Batra, which has also been marked to Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, Kashyap and UTV, FFI secretary general Supran Sen demanded an unconditional apology from the Director for his "unsavoury comments" against the Federation and its appointed jury.
Replying to Sen's letter, Ritesh Batra pointed out that only he, a first-time filmmaker, was asked to apologise despite many industry stalwarts raising their voice against the selection. He, however, offerd an apology.
Ritesh Batra's (director of The Lunchbox) response to the letter he received from FFI
I just received your letter. Many industry stalwarts have made comments similar to mine but you sent the letter to me, a debutant filmmaker, but I am honoured and proud to speak for my film and team. If an apology is what you demand, you have it. Both you and the jury have my wholehearted apology.
There was no intent to hurt anyone, but rather to participate in the vigorous debate that this decision ignited in the public domain.
I sincerely hope that the annual reactions to our Academy selections from the national press, and this year from even the international press, prompt a new policy for the selection. Sir, please use your good offices to give us a transparent, objective process with a public and not a secret jury. It is a direct and humble request, not a criticism.
I have moved on from this debate to focus on more productive pursuits and I would encourage everyone to do the same. With much respect for your tough job.
"If an apology is what you demand, you have it. Both you and the jury have my wholehearted apology. There was no intent to hurt anyone, but rather to participate in the vigorous debate that this decision ignited in the public domain.