There is an Indian connection to Hollywood’s Best Film at the 2020 Golden Globes. Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes’ new war drama 1917, which won Best Picture – Drama, and also the Best Director award for Mendes, touts Reliance Entertainment and Amblin Partners among the banners associated with the film’s production.
Reliance Entertainment is the media and entertainment arm of the Reliance Group, with Anil Ambani as its chairman. Since 2005, Reliance Entertainment has been associated with film production in Bollywood and Hollywood, besides Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Punjabi languages.
Amblin Partners lists Anil Ambani as one of its founders, along with Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll and Darren Throop. The company’s investment partners include Reliance Entertainment along with Participant, Entertainment One, Alibaba Pictures and Universal Pictures.
Internationally, Reliance Entertainment has partnered with the iconic Steven Spielberg since 2009, in the formation of DreamWorks Studios, and, thereafter, Amblin Partners. Commercially and critically successful films of the association include The Help, War Horse, Lincoln, The Hundred Foot Journey, The Girl On The Train, A Dog’s Purpose, Bridge of Spies, The Post and last year’s Green Book.
If 1917 represents the latest in that line of quality cinema in new Hollywood, a substantial amount of Reliance investment and infrastructural control has gone into the ambitious epic, said to be riding a budget of $90 million. The film’s critical and commercial success underlines the fact that Reliance Entertainment, a 100 per cent Indian-owned corporate entity, is here to stay in Hollywood.
For the film, the big two trophies at the Golden Globes will definitely boost chances at the upcoming Oscars, nominations for which will be announced on January 13.
1917 premiered in December at the 2019 Royal Film Performance and had a limited release in the US and Canada on Christmas day. The limited release was primarily necessary so that the film became eligible for all the major awards of this year. This way, it has become an unusual film to win the top award at the Golden Globes despite having a limited release, and has emerged as a favourite for a Best Film nomination at the Oscars, too.
The film has garnered favourable reviews, too, besides generally positive word of mouth among early audiences.
The film is about two young Lance Corporals, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) during the First World War, who are given an almost impossible mission. Racing against time, they must deliver a message deep inside enemy territory. The message is important to stop their own men – including Blake’s brother – from walking into a death trap.
Although the lead cast comprises greenhorn actors, 1917 also features feted actors as Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Mark Strong in pivotal roles.
Mendes drew inspiration for the script of 1917 from his grandfather’s stories. “It is difficult to make movies without big movie stars in the leads, and get people to come and see it in a cinema. I really hope this (the Golden Globes) win means people will turn up and see it on the big screen, for which it was intended,” said the filmmaker who won the Oscar in 2000 as Best Director for American Beauty.