In the movie, Balan's character does not even get a name.
Vidya Balan plays the lead role in short movie Natkhat, which has entered the race for the 2021 Oscars.
The short film was released in June 2020 and was produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Vidya Balan.
This is Balan’s first venture as a producer, and in June 2020, the film has been selected by the Mumbai Film Festival for its world premiere at the ‘We Are One: A Global Film Festival’.
The actress expressed her excitement for this nomination, by saying:
“I am really happy and excited to showcase our film on this platform.
“‘Natkhat’ is a very special film because it addresses something that is extremely pertinent in these times while also delivering a strong message.”
Natkhat was also announced as the winner at the Best of India Short Film Festival before becoming eligible for the Oscars 2021 qualification.
The movie is a 33-minute long short film on rape culture, which portrays the relationship between a mother and a son, inside an Indian patriarchal home.
It starts with Sonu overhearing a group of senior students planning to pick up and take a girl to a nearby forest.
He later hears one of them telling “this time, everybody will get a chance”.
This scene clearly shows how the seeds of toxic masculinity and male chauvinism are instilled in young boys’ minds.
Knowing that her patriarchal family is heavily influencing her son, Balan decides to correct the course of the child’s life through her bedtime stories.
In the movie, her character does not even get a name, as she is simply defined by her roles as ‘maa’ and ‘bahu’.
The title Nathkat is a reference to Krishna, a God who steals butter and clothes off gopis.
What is mind-blowing is the role of Sonu being played by Sanika Patel, a female child actor.
Thrilled that our film #NATKHAT is in the RACE FOR THE #OSCARS2021 after a 2020 filled with prestigious international film festivals @RonnieScrewvala @vidya_balan @SanayaIZohrabi @FontOfThinking @mesopystic pic.twitter.com/xtGgCVQGgv
— RSVP Movies (@RSVPMovies) January 22, 2021
The short movie was also screened at prestigious international film festivals throughout 2020, such as A Global Film Festival, Indian Film Festival Stuttgart, London Indian Film Festival in London and Birmingham, the South Asian Film Festival – Orlando/Florida Film Festival, and the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
At the Indian Film Festival Stuttgart, it also won the German Star of India Award.
Nathkat is not the only Indian movie that made it to the Oscars.
Shameless, Saving Chintu, and Tailing Pond are three Indian movies, which were also nominated for this prestigious prize.