India's Oscar entry

Chaitanya Tamhane’s ‘Court’ is India’s entry for the Oscars

A jury headed by filmmaker Amol Palekar chose the multi-lingual drama from over 30 entries.

“At every juncture of the film’s journey, we have felt that it has given us more than we could ever imagine,” said Chaitanya Tamhane, director of the movie that has been selected to represent India in the best foreign language category at the Oscars. Court was named from among 30 entries to compete at the Academy Awards, which will be held in early 2016.

“Once again, this has come as a genuine surprise to both Vivek and me,” Tamhane told “Ever since we started making the film, we kept our expectations low. Especially in this case, since these results tend to be so unpredictable, it just felt like a wise thing to not expect too much. Now that it has actually happened, we would like to thank the jury for their decision and everyone who has supported the film so far.”

Written and directed by the first-time filmmaker, Court follows the never-ending trial of a balladeer who is accused of encouraging a municipal worker to commit suicide through his fiery songs. The multi-lingual arthouse drama, which is predominantly in Marathi, examines the Indian judicial system from the perspectives of the accused, the lawyer defending him, the public prosecutor, and the judge presiding over the case.

Court was chosen unanimously by a 16-member jury headed by veteran actor and filmmaker Amol Palekar. The panel is chosen every year by the Film Federation of India, and except for the chairperson, no other members are identified. The jury sifted through 30 entries, including Masaan, PK, Haider, Kaakaa Muttai and Baahubali.

Court has already won wide acclaim at home and abroad. It was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014, where it won the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature as well as the top prize in the non-competitive Horizons category. Court also won the National Award for Best Feature Film at this year’s National Film Awards.

The movie’s cast includes its producer, Vivek Gomber, Marathi stage veteran Geetanjali Kulkarni, and Vira Sathidar, and it has been shot by Mrinal Desai and edited by Rikhav Desai. “We thought that we stood as good a chance as the others, and it will be interesting to see how the movie is received on the Oscar platform, which is a much more mainstream one,” said Court’s cinematographer, Mrinal Desai.

India has never won an Academy Award in the best foreign language movie category despite sending films across genres, narrative styles and languages. Indian entries in the past decade include Rang De Basanti, Peepli Live, Abu Son of Adam and Barfi! There has never been a consensus on the choice of the Indian entry. A-list producers from the leading film industries in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai want the selection to reflect domestic box-office successes, directors in regional languages complain of a Bollywood bias, while indie filmmakers argue that their approach to cinema works best for foreign juries.

What it takes to win

Only three films have made it to the Oscar short list, which comprises five titles: Mehboob Khan’s Mother India, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan. There might have been a fourth title in 2013, when all bets were being made on Ritesh Batra’s epistolary romance The Lunchbox as the Indian nominee most likely to hold strong against international competition. However, the FFI jury that was headed by Goutam Ghose unanimously chose Gyan Correa’s arthouse drama The Good Road instead. The Lunchbox went on to become a critical and commercial darling the world over, and the FFI’s decision to send a representative Indian movie rather than a production that chimed with the tastes of American jurors was widely pilloried.

A hefty price tag is attached to the prestige of representing the country at the Oscars. It’s not enough to send an Indian movie with an internationalist outlook. The selected movie’s producers will need to take the battle all the way to Hollywood, and will have to spend on publicity and lobbying to ensure that their production gets noticed among the hefty competition.

India’s yearning for Oscar glory has been fulfilled by international productions. Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya is the first Indian to win an Academy Award for her work on Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982. Satyajit Ray got a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1992 a month before his demise. Danny Boyle’s Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire snagged Oscar gongs for music composer AR Rahman, sound designer Resul Pookutty and lyricist Gulzar.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations

These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.

As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.

A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.

This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance. Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.

The evolving patient

Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.

The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.

Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.


As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.


So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.


As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

Striking the balance

Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.

The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”


By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.