Oscar Awards: Bollywood Shines Bright
On April 25, audiences worldwide will gather around their television sets for the glittering glamour of Oscar Awards night. The Golden Knight with a crusader sword is the epitome of excellence and achievement in the field of movies and movie making. Nicknamed the ‘Oscar,’ the awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the most well known international award in the movie industry.
Over the years, several Indians, Indian Americansand Indian films have received or been nominated for Oscars Awards in different categories. To date, 13 Indians have been nominated and eight have won Oscars including in the scientific and technical awards category.
At the 30th Academy Awards, Mehboob Khan’s 1957 Hindi-language film Mother India was India’s first submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film category. It was nominated alongside four other films and lost to the Italian film Nights of Cabiria by one vote. In 1983, Bhanu Athaiya became the first Indian to win an Academy Award for designing the costumes for the film Gandhi. Ravi Shankar was nominated for Best Original Score for the same film. In 1992, filmmaker Satyajit Ray was given an Honorary Academy Award “in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and of his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.” He is the only Indian to date to receive the honor. As of 2021, apart from Mother India, only two other Indian films have been nominated for an award, Salaam Bombay! and Lagaan.
Music Maestro A R Rahman and Resul Pookutty won the Oscar Award for Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing respectively for the film Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman also shared the Best Original Song Award with Gulzar for the song “Jai Ho” from that film. A R Rahman is the only Indian to win more than one Academy Award. Several Indians and Indian Americans have received the Oscars in the technical category such as Rahul Thakkar, Cottalango Leon and Vikas Sathaye.
There were a total of 366 films nominated for best movie for the 2021 awards. Among these 366 movies, two movies from India were also selected for multiple categories including the Best Movie and Best Director. One is the Tamil movie Soorarai Pottri directed by Sudha Kongara and the other is Kalira Atita an Odia movie directed by Nila Madhab Panda. However, even after competing in the first few rounds, the films did not make it to the final list of nominated movies.
Soorarai Pottru is a Tamil movie directed by Sudha Kongara was digitally premiered through the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video on October 30, 2020. Lead actors include Suriya, Paresh Rawal, and Aparna Balamurali. The film was nominated for the Oscar awards in several categories: Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Original Score. Based on the life of Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath, the movie received encouraging reviews. Soorarai Pottru was selected as one among ten Indian films to be screened under the Best Foreign Film category at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. Missing the Oscar nomination is unfortunate, but still encouraging and heralding a new beginning.
Kalira Atita is an Odia movie directed by Nila Madhab Panda. Lead actors in the 2020 film include Pitabash Tripathy, Basant Sahu, Sonali Sharmistha Mohanty among others. The film tells the story of a man devastated by the destructive cyclones of Odisha. The film was nominated for Best Movie, but in the end, did not make the final cut. Being based on the director’s personal experience, this movie is also a trend-setter for the future of Indian cinema and a campaign for environment protection.