India has a very impressive background when it comes to movies but when it comes to Oscar, India has not been an impressive Oscar winner till date i.e. it is just nominated but has never won an Oscar. Among most of the movies, only some were a part of nominations, others whose entries were made didn’t even make it to the nominations and did not hit the box office. Each year about 1500 Indian movies produced make it to the cinema, which in total is almost half of the total movies produced around the world but none have managed to bring the prestigious trophy— Oscar statue back home.
Oscar is the Academy award which is won internationally by a movie who make the strongest impact on most of the population and is the famous hit, makes it to the Oscar-winning. The award is given by the United States Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to the movies which are produced outside the United States (USA) and which contains primarily non-English dialogues. It is regarded as the most popular and prestigious award in the entertainment industry. This award is given to the movies who have a very cinematic background and the script and every storyline of the movie is fabulous. This gold statue as a trophy is officially called as “Academy Award of Merit”. The trophy represents a knight rendered in the art deco style. Film’s which can grab the most audience attention won this precious award.
India since 1957 has been making entries in the Oscar for the Best foreign-language film category. The movie, Mehboob Khan’s— Mother India in 1957 was the first-ever movie to be submitted for Oscars. It’s unique script line and epic drama made it to the finals, up to the nominations yet was not able to make it win. The movie was entered in the Oscar along with four other movies. But it lost because of one vote, which was to Nights of Cabiria. It was so memorable for the movie and the Hindi cinema to at least make it to the nominations. The movie’s Mother India, An Encounter With Faces, Salaam Bombay, Little Terrorist and Lagaan were nominated for the Best foreign-language film category at Oscars and one thing that these movies had in common was the storyline about poverty.
Furthermore, many such Bollywood movies were submitted to the Oscars, but some of them were selected for the finals and other’s got rejected. Recently, the movie Newton which starred Rajkumar Rao was selected for the Best foreign-language film category at the Oscars totalling it to 6.
The Oscar Nominations— Movie’s which were nominated by the Academy were:
1. Mother India (1957) – The first and foremost movie to stand in the nominations was Mother India. It started the ball rolling for India at the Oscars. This classic movie was directed by Mehboob Khan which got nominated for The Best Film in the foreign-language category and was almost able to make it won but lost because of just one vote. It lost to Nights Of Cabiria. The movie was a remake of the director’s earlier film named Aurat. Poverty is the main storyline of Mehboob Khan’s- Mother India, starring Nargis (Radha), Rajendra Kumar (Ramu), Sunil Dutt (Birju) and Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi (Sukhilala). The movie displays a mother like character, named Radha, a poor farmer who struggles to make ends meet and raise her two sons without compromising on her honour – a trait that became tantamount with New India itself, and gave ‘birth’ to archetypal mother characters in Bollywood.
2. An Encounter With Faces (1978)- This hidden little gem out, the masterpiece of Vidhu Vinod Chopra was one of the best short film ever produced. It is a very short documentary film. The film was nominated for the title The Best Documentary Short Film. But unfortunately, did not win.
3. Salaam Bombay (1988)- This film’s storyline is based on the slum area i.e. before the movie Slumdog millionaire, this movie was produced, which was appreciated by the world because of it’s script line and also was selected for the nominations of The Best Foreign Language Film Category. Starring Irrfan Khan, the movie had a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in Salaam Bombay. Like other Oscar-nominated movie’s this one was also based on the title— poverty.
4. Lagaan (2001)- Lagaan was a movie produced by Ashutosh Gowariker, starring Amir Khan. The film had both perspectives, negative as well as positive. Some people made it a success whereas some criticised it. This film was also the part of nominations for the Oscar as the Best Foreign Language Film Category but unfortunately, did not win. It had the same thread of poverty tying the 225-minute long movie in place. The Bollywood film lost to No Man’s Land in the Oscars yet won the hearts of several Hollywood bigwigs as it is going on to be remembered far more fondly today that the film that beat it.
5. Little Terrorist (2005)- It is the best Action short film produced, written and directed by Aswin Kumar. This heart-wrenching short film about an innocent Pakistan boy trapped on the border on the Indian side won over the Academy Panel so much, that they looked to its budgetary constraints and production cost-cutting to bestow it with a well-deserved nomination in the Oscars. This movie was also nominated for the Oscars as the Best Foreign Language Film Category. But like others, did not make it to the last.
6. Gully Boy (2019)- Gully Boy is the most recent and epic-drama movie nominated for the Oscars. The movie was produced by Zoya Akhtar and this was India’s official entry to the 92nd Oscars last year. The Film Federation of India (FFI) has chosen ‘Gully Boy’ as India’s official entry to the Oscars for the nominations. The film is starring Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles. The story is based on the rapper from the streets of Mumbai who dreamt of becoming a big rapper one day that is making it big in the world of music. However, the Musical/drama movie didn’t make it to top 10 films considered for Oscar 2020 nominations.
Some of the films whose entries were made in the Oscar but were not nominated were Guide, Manthan, Saaransh, Bandit Queen, Hey Ram, Earth, Court, Barfi and many more. These were some amazing movies with the stars brilliant performance and well-deserving because of the actor’s hard work, but couldn’t make it up to the nominations of the Academy awards i.e. Oscars.
As the Indian cinemas have a lot of potential and capability to earn an Oscar back home, it still did not get that precious chance for once. In the end, it’s a foreign award that, for all the stature it has, doesn’t get to tell how good or bad our films are and to doubt their worth, especially with the number of undeserving films they’ve awarded over the past years over several better ones so far. Oscar if won, would be welcomed with an open heart and with open arms, but we shouldn’t lose hope over it either, and be content with praising and celebrating our films in the meantime for our audience. Distinctly, this is not the first time that India cinema has submitted movie’s for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film Category but they have been submitting entries for the films since 1957, a year after the incorporation of the category. Quite of the films that have been sent to the Oscars from India, out of which some were rejected and some were selected. But we, Indian’s never lost hopes for either once. Thus, while we actually hang tight and wait for an Oscar back home in the Best Foreign Language Film category, it’d work well for us to recall that as pivotal the event would be, we shouldn’t worry over it!