"Jai Ho..." The rhythm of this soundtrack from Slumdog Millionaire, composed by ace music legend AR Rahman, still remains a breakthrough and gives goosebumps to many. The movie as well as the song, though was a British drama film, are still cherished by music and movie lovers as the story revolved around Indians and the star cast also was from India. It even clinched the most significant Academy Awards in 2009.
Clinching the most prestigious Academy Award, the Oscars, is the dream of every filmmaker, artiste or technician related to the film industry who dedicates their entire life to bringing out something remarkable that will impress the world. However, it is not that easy even to get nominated for the Oscars. There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled to become eligible for the nominations.
Where is India in the Oscars race?
While all cine industries of other countries have a better presence in the international forum and have received the highest honours in filmmaking, India lags far behind in the race. Even though the Indian Cine Industry has completed 100 years, till date, only three movies have been nominated for the prestigious award from India, i.e. Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay (1988) and Lagaan (2011). Still, none of the movie was able to grab the Academy Award.
Though India's official submission in 2022 for the 94th Oscars was a Tamil drama film, 'Pebbles', it could not find a place in the list of nominations.
Till date, only five Indians have clinched the most prestigious award in the industry. Bhanu Athaiya got the award for Best Costume Design, Satyajit Ray grabbed the Honorary Award, Resul Pookutty was awarded under the Best Sound Mixing category, Eminent poet and writer Gulzar earned the award under the Best Original Song category and music legend, A R Rahman was honoured for the Best Original Score and Best Original Song.
Other than the above, India failed to bring home any Academy awards in other categories. Even, it has been quite difficult for Indians to get a nomination.
Oscars hope reignites after 21 years
However, after 21 years, the media is abuzz that India has a chance to find a place in the 95th Oscars nomination list. The buzz stormed the internet after Variety, a leading American media company exclusively known for featuring entertainment news, included an Indian film in its list of possible contenders.
It is SS Rajamouli's RRR, starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt, Olivia Morris and Ajay Devgn, that holds the potential to get a nomination for the Academy Awards from the country. RRR went on to break several global records as an Indian movie and went on to grab the second spot in the list of highest-grossing Indian movies globally until Yash-starrer KGF Chapter 2 outranked it. However, the craze for RRR still remains unaffected and is minting globally with rereleases.
Variety listed RRR as a possible contender for the 2023 Oscars in the 'Best Picture' category. Moreover, the prediction list included South actor Jr NTR as a possible contender for the Academy awards in the 'Best Actor' category.
The nomination announcement for the 2023 Oscars is yet to happen, but, if the prediction falls in place, it would be a moment to celebrate and cherish for all movie lovers. Moreover, it would become the first movie from South to get nominated for the Academy award.
Will India submit a south-origin movie for the prestigious Oscars?
The situation seems to be grim as it is still unclear if the Film Federation of India will submit RRR for the 95th Oscars. As history tells, to date India has submitted 50 movies over the decades for the Academy award and most of the submissions were in Hindi language. This year too, many expect that India will consider submitting a safer bet by going with Vivek Agnihotri's 'The Kashmir Files', which emerged as the highest-grossing Hindi movie this year.
Telugu-origin movie RRR, showcased globally, was made at a budget of Rs 550 crore and is the most expensive film made in India. Currently, it holds the third position in the list of highest-grossing Indian movies and the collection is on the count. The committee ignoring such a film could be a blunder, as predicted by Variety.
Even International film critic Clayton Davis is hopeful that the Film Federation of India would submit RRR's name as an Oscar contender for the upcoming Oscars instead of 'The Kashmir Files'. Showering praises for RRR, Davis quoted the movie as, “A monument to action cinema.” Further, he also said that the action-drama reminded him of George Miller’s 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.
However, expressing concern, he added, “The only hump to get over right now is that it’s in Telugu and all the Indian submissions typically are in Hindi.”
The critic also suggested if India doesn't select RRR for submission, the voters in America should keep the movie in their minds for the Academy Awards.
Three-hour action epic #RRR is the biggest film in India's history. @ByClaytonDavis weighs the movie's chances at this year's #AcademyAwards. | Variety The Take presented by @AppleTV https://t.co/x7D5VnuwBk pic.twitter.com/R6gkDohMqS— Variety (@Variety) August 19, 2022
However, fans and movie lovers are quite elated after the report of probable contenders was out and it spread like a wildfire on social media. Well, time will say if RRR represents India at the Academy awards or not. Even, all eyes are on Jr NTR as well following the announcement of the probable contenders' list.