WHY NO OSCAR FOR INDIA? WHY?

56 years of Oscar nominations. 45 submissions. 3 Nominees. No winners.

Every year about 1500 Indian movies make it to the big screen, which is almost half of the total movies produced around the world. But till date none of the Indian movies have managed to bring home the prestigious ‘Oscar‘ statuette.

If the question is put forward, ‘Can you name an Indian movie which won Oscars?’, most Indians would jump up and say Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that movies like Gandhi (1982), Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Life of Pi (2012) are not originally Indian movies. These movies have resulted in Indian artists winning the Oscars, but were the brain children of non-Indians. When Slumdog Millionaire won this prestigious award, it was celebrated with pomp and show as though it was a victorious moment for the Indian film industry, but it’s a shame that we don’t realize that none of the aforementioned movies are originally Indian.

Talking about the Indians who have won this esteemed award, there are only 5 Indians who have won the Oscars – Bhanu Athaiya (Best Costume Design – Gandhi, 1983); Satyajit Ray (Honorary Award, 1992); Gulzar (Best Original Song – Slumdog Millionaire, 2008); A.R. Rahman (Best Original Score / Best Original Song – Slumdog Millionaire, 2008) and Resul Pookutty (Best Sound Mixing – Slumdog Millionaire, 2008).

For the Oscar nominations, most Indian movies submitted have never been at par with the Academy Awards standards. India’s first submission – Mother India (1957) though made it to the final five, but couldn’t get a nod for the Best Foreign Picture. The other two movies that made to the final five were Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988) and Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Lagaan (2001). It’s really surprising and shocking that for a country which produces the largest number of movies in the world has so far, failed miserably in bringing home one Oscar. We are back to square one, ‘Indian movies don’t get frequently nominated forget winning the Oscar’.

Ritesh Batra’s ‘The Lunchbox‘ which opened last week, has garnered rave reviews critically. Credited with several awards and accolades globally, including the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award a.k.a Grand Rail d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, ‘The Lunchbox‘ was one among the 24 movies from across the globe to screen at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, US. Considered as the springboard to the Academy Awards, Telluride Film Festival witnessed the movie amassing rave reviews and numerous accolades from the hard-to-please Western critics.

Celebrating its Centennial Year, 2013 has been a good year for Indian Cinema. Against the current line of movies, some brilliant movies like Kai Po Che, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Lucia (Kannada) made it to the big screens, capturing the attention of the audiences and the critics. And everyone who has watched these movies feel that it will do good to India to send ‘The Lunchbox‘ at its official entry for the foreign language Oscar race. ‘Ship of Theseus‘ is the nearest rival, which is shot beautifully but suffers from an unsteady story narration falling just behind The Lunchbox‘s intrinsically charming Indian story with a universal appeal.

The guessing game has now come to an end. ‘The Good Road‘, Gyan Correa’s debut Gujarati-language film, has been nominated as India’s official entry at next year’s Oscar Ceremony in the Best Foreign Film category. The movie is about how the lives of the three central characters change over a period of 24 hours – 7-year-old Aditya’s lost-and-found story; 11-year-old Poonam’s journey to meet her grandmother and Pappu, the truck driver’s last road trip.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but keeping my fingers crossed, I’m just hoping the movie – The Good Road will bring home the golden, shining knight!

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