The prestigious 92nd Academy Awards took place at the dazzling Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre amid much glitz and glam. Hollywood’s biggest night witnessed some pleasantly surprising wins. While the South Korean film ‘Parasite’ made history for becoming the first-ever foreign-language film to win the Best Picture award, Laura Dern became the first actor to be awarded an Oscar for a Netflix movie. As the world of cinema is gradually turning seamless, India still has miles to go, at the Oscars. Watering down the country’s hopes, India’s official entry for Oscars 2020, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy failed to even make it to the final list of shortlisted films under the Best International Film category, announced in December 2019. Though India has sent more than fifty films since 1958, only three of the country’s submissions managed to clear the screening to become the Oscar-nominated Indian movies. Let us take a moment to appreciate the films, which actually came close to winning the covetous honour.
Here’s a look at the 3 Oscar-nominated Indian movies:
Mother India (1957)
Starring Nargis Dutt in the titular role, the story is centred around a woman named Radha from a poverty-stricken household. Although she struggles to raise her sons, Radha doesn’t step back to turn against society and even her loved ones in order to serve justice, in the end. Metaphorically representing India as a nation in the aftermath of the country’s independence, the film touched upon the socio-economic situation way back in 1957. Directed by Mehboob Khan, the film was nominated in 1958 for the 30th Academy Awards. The movie though lost to Nights of Cabiria by a single vote.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Directed by Mira Nair, the film chronicles the lives of children residing in the slums of Bombay. In one shot, Chaipao, the protagonist is seen dancing to a Sridevi number as he scavenges for a single full meal. A few scenes later, he steals and snatches to stay afloat the poverty pool. The filmmaker shows the other side of the coin by taking the audience through the murky lanes of India’s largest city and painting the story of hunger and survival. Made in the year 1988, Salaam Bombay! is the second one to make the cut to the Oscar-nominated Indian movies.
Set in the Victorian era of India’s colonial British Raj, Lagaan revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, wage a war of cricket to question the system. With a captivating performance by Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan and chest-thumping music from AR Rahman, the film had not only won critical acclaim but also the hearts of Indian audience all over the globe. Shortlisted for the 74th Academy Awards, this Ashutosh Gowariker directorial is the third Oscar-nominated Indian movie as of 2020.