The Good Road vs The Lunchbox: Unveiling India’s Oscar Entry Decision

In 2013, the Indian film industry was embroiled in a controversy that sparked a nationwide debate. The Film Federation of India (FFI) had chosen “The Good Road” as India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 86th Academy Awards, bypassing the critically acclaimed “The Lunchbox”. This decision led to a wave of criticism and raised several questions about the selection process. This article aims to unveil the reasons behind this decision and provide a comparative analysis of both films.

The Selection Process

The FFI is responsible for selecting India’s official entry for the Oscars. The selection committee comprises of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry. The selection is based on various factors such as the film’s originality, creativity, narrative, technical aspects, and its potential to resonate with the global audience.

Why “The Good Road”?

“The Good Road”, directed by Gyan Correa, is a Gujarati film that explores the lives of three sets of people travelling on a highway in rural India. The film was praised for its realistic portrayal of India’s rural landscape and its complex social issues. The FFI justified its decision by stating that “The Good Road” was chosen for its “brilliant cinematic treatment and its ability to connect with the audience”. The committee believed that the film’s unique narrative and authentic depiction of India would appeal to the international jury.

The Lunchbox: A Missed Opportunity?

“The Lunchbox”, directed by Ritesh Batra, is a Hindi film that tells a heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship that develops through letters exchanged in a lunchbox. The film received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, both in India and abroad. It was lauded for its simple yet powerful storytelling, stellar performances, and its universal theme of loneliness and longing. Many believed that “The Lunchbox”, with its global appeal and critical acclaim, was a strong contender for the Oscars and that the FFI missed an opportunity by not selecting it.

Public Reaction and Controversy

The decision sparked a controversy, with many from the film fraternity expressing their disappointment. Anurag Kashyap, a prominent filmmaker, publicly criticized the decision, stating that the selection process was flawed. However, the FFI defended its decision, stating that the selection was made after careful consideration and that both films were equally deserving.


The controversy surrounding the selection of “The Good Road” over “The Lunchbox” for the Oscars highlights the subjective nature of film appreciation. While “The Good Road” was chosen for its authentic portrayal of rural India, “The Lunchbox” was celebrated for its universal appeal. Ultimately, the decision reflects the diverse and rich tapestry of Indian cinema, which continues to evolve and captivate audiences worldwide.