Every movie enthusiast knows how important the Oscars are and always has been. We’ve seen it time and time again: when a movie wins an Oscar, it rapidly receives more acclaim from around the globe. But did you know that there have been a few Indian films that have received Oscar nominations in the past? Now that we know what happened to RRR’s Naatu Naatu song after it won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, let’s look at all the Indian movies on this list that were nominated for Oscars.
Oscar-Nominated Indian Films:
Mother India (1957)
Mother India, a legendary movie from 1957 under the direction of Mehroob Khan, introduced the world to the potential of Indian cinematography. Being the first Indian film to receive an Oscar nomination, the film is significant. The protagonist of the film is a woman named Radha, who is seen as the village’s “mother” in essence. In addition to her fight to survive against a dishonest money lender amid other impending problems, the movie depicted her struggle with raising her two sons. Nargis is portrayed as a role model and the struggle of both India’s women and the nation as a whole in the movie.
The title of the film is significant because it refuted American author Katherine Mayo’s misrepresentation of Indian culture in her book Mother India (1927). The repercussions of its 1947 independence serve as the backdrop of the film and suggest a strong feeling of nationalism.
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The House That Ananda Built (1968)
The House That Ananda Built, a 1968 short documentary directed by Fali Bilimoria, centres on Ananda Karan, a prosperous Nagpur-based Odiya businessman. It provides us with insight into the life of this family and its members, especially Ananda, his children, and his pre- and post-independence perceptions as well as how those beliefs had directly affected his family. As we engross watching Ananda reflect, it infuses nostalgia in the audience and encourages us to recall earlier ideas, thoughts, and lifestyles.
An Encounter with Faces (1978)
An Encounter with Faces, a film directed by the renowned Vidhu Vinod Chopra, provides us with a detailed look into the lives of juvenile offenders from the Mumbai neighbourhoods of Dongri and Mankhurd. This truly heartbreaking saga provides insight into the challenge and socioeconomic hardships of the children who narrate it, providing us with a great opportunity to learn about the pressing problems facing the nation. While it isn’t the most enjoyable movie to watch, it does a respectable job of making the audience more aware. It certainly draws attention to the harsh inequality and injustice of society to emphasise the importance of rehabilitation in this film.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Even though we adore Mira Nair for her role in Monsoon Wedding, it was her directing debut that really opened the door for this amazing director. From the hip Gully Boy to the commercial Slumdog Millionaire, the slums of Mumbai have always been a source of inspiration for artists, but Salaam Bombay! is the original. The film is considered to be one of the best Indian films to be nominated for Oscars. It was actually inspired by the experiences of Mumbai’s slum kids. The film, which was a revelation to a worldwide audience, starred Shafiq Syed, Raghuvir Yadav, Anita Kanwar, Nana Patekar, as well as Chanda Sharma as the lead characters.
Krishna, a young boy, is the protagonist of the story and is tasked with collecting money to cover his older brother’s motorbike destruction. He boards the train to Bombay due to the result of his failure. Soon after, he is mugged, but he ends up making friends with the thieves who take him to the famously known Falkland Road red light district, the city’s seedier side.
The film, which was directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and was made by Aamir Khan, takes place in the made-up village of Champaner. The narrative centres on the people in the village who wait outside the Cantonment grounds to meet the king in the hopes of receiving an exemption from the tax because of the ongoing drought. They face difficulties because Bhuvan, a young farmer who appears to find the game amusing while the company captain does not, questions them to a match in exchange for the cancellation of their taxes for three years. The villagers start working together to defeat the British and avoid the harsh tax imposition. This Oscar-nominated film performed well at the box office, ranking third among Hindi films in 2001.
Little Terrorist (2004)
Little Terrorist, a 2004 short film directed by the son of renowned fashion designer Ritu Kumar, was one of the most sentimental Indian films to be nominated for an Oscar. Though obviously without the genocide, it reminds us a little of “The Boy in Striped Pajamas.” Jamal, a 10-year-old Muslim from Pakistan, is the main character of the story, which centres on how he crossed the border into India while participating in a fun game of cricket. Although many people might find this to be a sensitive subject, Kumar handles it expertly. Jamal is given shelter by a wary Bhola and his niece Rani; their scepticism is bolstered by his innocence.
Writing with Fire (2021)
The widely praised documentary Writing with Fire, which was co-directed by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, tells the story of the journalists who are in charge of running the Dalit women’s news outlet Khabar Lahariya. It discusses how smartphones have made a crucial transition from print to digital media. It has taken a 14-year journey to become the only new agency operated by oppressed women who bravely accept the challenge of journalism without a shred of fear. The trio of the boss, chief reporter Meera, and crime reporter Suneeta take on a huge challenge of reporting from the most unstable areas of the nation while bringing to light pressing problems that many wouldn’t have the audacity to bring up.
The White Tiger (2021)
The White Tiger, a film by Ramin Bahrani that was both written and directed, was inspired by the same-titled book by Aravind Adiga. The movie centres on Balram, a destitute Indian man who uses wit to break free from his life of destitution. He eventually begins working as a driver for a powerful family, but after an accident, he becomes uneasy and worries about the security of his family. He decides to take control of the situation and makes an effort to live up to his title of “The White Tiger,” a clever metaphor employed in the film, in order to reverse the events. There is unmistakably a class distinction in the film, which is conveyed through fine details. Undoubtedly one of the most controversial Indian films to receive an Oscar nomination.
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