It's a pity really. The Lunchbox has bowled over critics and audience alike. It has raked in the stars like no other film in recent times. It's brought together critical acclaim and box office success in one tasty dish. And yet, it failed to make the cut for the Oscar race.
The honour went to Gujarati film The Good Road. Directed by debutant Gyan Correa, The Good Road won the national award for best Gujarati film.
Starring Ajay Gehi, Keval Katrodia and Sonali Kulkarni, the film revolves around three story-lines of a lost boy, a girl on the search for her grandmother and a truck driver in a dire situation that all come together on a highway through Kutch.
"I can't believe it. It is a great feeling and I am recovering my breath and understanding the implications. I hope we win," said the elated director.
Gehi was more taken aback with the announcement. He told Hindustan Times, "I'm surprised as I didn't know. You (HT) are the first one to tell me. It wasn't a big budget commercial film but the team was very driven. I connected with the script."
BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, shared his jubilation on Twitter: "Delighted to know that Gujarati film 'The Good Road' has been chosen to represent India at Oscars. My best wishes."
Meanwhile, the rest of Bollywood reeled under the shock.
"I was 100 per cent sure that The Lunchbox is going for Oscars. It's a shock that it didn't. I have never heard of The Good Road," said Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays Aslam Sheikh in The Lunchbox.
But it was the producer and presenter of the film, Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap, who were dealt the biggest blow.
"Really shocked and disappointed.. #LUNCHBOX had every factor working in its favour... we may have just lost our golden chance.. SAD!!!." tweeted KJo.
Kashyap too, shared his disappointment with a tweet. "Feeling very very disappointed, can't comment on the film I have not seen, but it better make it to final five.
KJo & Kashyap believe that The Lunchbox has a greater chance of winning. Kashyap called for "a clean policy (for film selection), you want to send the best film, then send the national award winner,"
However, Arbaaz Khan is the voice of reason on twitter claiming a neutral ground. "Any film that gets recognised at the Oscar is a proud moment for the filmmakers and the country that it comes from. It is a very proud moment."
While that may be true, the question remains - should a film with potential to win or a film that's just plain good, be sent?
We hope we'll never have to answer that question for it wouldn't be healthy for the world of films. And we hope, The Good Road seals that doubt once and for all by returning victorious from the Oscars.
Cartoon: Satish Acharya