55 Years, 3 Nods: Why India’s Official Entries Rarely Get An Oscar Nom
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – In the past 55 years in which India has been sending entries for the Best International Feature Film Oscar, it has been on just three occasions that the selected movies, despite some of them being critically acclaimed both in India and abroad, have made it to the nominations shortlist.
A dismal record, if any, calls into question the selection process.
The three films on this rather bald list are the Nargis-Sunil Dutt classic “Mother India” (1957), Mira Nair’s “Salaam Bombay” (1988) and Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Aamir Khan-starrer “Lagaan” (2001).
This year, the official selection — “Chhello Show”, Nalin Kumar Pandya a.k.a. Pan Nalin’s Gujarati film — again lost out.
The official selection is made by a committee appointed by the Film Federation of India, the apex body of film producers, cutting across languages and regional cinema industries.
Is the committee selecting the right films?
Moreover, is it backing the selected film with the kind of marketing budget that a pitch for the Oscars calls for?
“RRR”, which was the awards season favorite till it was snubbed by BAFTA and had to be content with just one Oscar nomination for “Naatu Naatu”, was backed by the theatrical distribution and marketing company, Variance Films, in its efforts and a war chest reportedly of Rs 80 crore.
Now, “RRR” can at least claim that “Naatu Naatu” is the first Indian song of an Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar (“Jai Ho” was an Indian song, yes, but “Slumdog Millionaire” wasn’t an Indian film).