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Why can't Indian films crack the Oscar code?

Why can't Indian films crack the Oscar code?

There has only been controversies and no wins to Indian entries to the Oscars.

Somen Mishra
  • CNN-IBN
  • Last Updated: February 23, 2009, 1:56 AM IST
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Mumbai: In all the Slumdog glory what most of us have forgotten is that India's official entry to the Oscars this year was actor-director Aamir Khan's film Taare Zameen Par. Aamir or not, the film didn't even make it to the nominations, leaving us with a question – why have Indian films failed to crack the Oscar code? Are we not lobbying for our films?

Actor Aamir Khan says, “I didnt do any lobbying for Lagaan, what lobbying? I don’t know what’s there in your head.”

That's a very defensive Aamir Khan on missing the cut . And what's more Lagaan was not the first film to make it to the final five at the Oscars.

Much before that, back in 1957 Mehboob Khan's Mother India was nominated in the same category. After that, it took three decades before another Indian film, this time, Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay made the cut in 1988.

But it was Bhanu Athaiya who bought home India's first ever Oscar in 1982 for her outstanding work as costume designer in Richard Attenborough's epic Gandhi.

Costume Designer Bhanu Athaiya, “I was working with the world's best team, there was no question of not doing your best.”

The second Indian to actually win an Oscar was filmmaker Satyajit Ray who was awarded an honorary Oscar for his lifelong contribution to cinema in 1992.

Sadly, since then it has only been controversies and no wins, when it comes to Indian entries to the Oscars.

On one hand we've had commercial successes like Rang de Basanti and Devdas, on the other hand, there are box office disasters like Eklavya and Paheli -- that failed to impress the audience back home, let alone the Academy!

So does it mean that that the Film Federation of India, which selects the entries for the Oscars, is only experimenting till they finally make the right choice?

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says, “About the release, there can be notional release. All across the world, people do it. They release the film in one theatre for few weeks so that they can send it for Oscar. Same can be done with Buddhadeb Dasgupta films. FFI seriously needs to alter it.”

With Indian cinema finally coming of age, lets hope that we one day get an Oscar for our films.


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