What do Satyajit Ray, Kamal Haasan and Aamir Khan have in common, apart from an intense love for the movies? Movies that have been submitted to the Oscars! Hey! This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. It’s time for one of the biggest nights of the year - where a jury decides what a billion people will scramble to watch if they haven’t already. The most prestigious awards that honor films, film-makers and artists - the Academy Awards - are set to take place soon. Here’s looking at some of India’ biggest entries to the Oscars.
1957 - Mother India - First submission from India, also nominated
Mother India - India’s first ever submission to the Oscars in 1957 in the Foreign Language film category, and so amazing it got nominated. It was the remake of Mehboob Khan’s earlier film called Aurat. It starred a young 26 year-old Nargis in the lead role - an idealistic woman with two adult sons - who placed Izzat, societal standards and values above everything including her own convenience. Nargis and Sunil Dutt fell in love during this film but weren’t allowed to get married because they had just played mother and son on screen! India’s first submission to the Academy Awards - as much drama on the set as much as on the screen!
1959 - The World of Apu
Apur Sansar - translated to ‘The World of Apu’ in English was India’s submission to the Oscars in 1959 - also Satyajit Ray’s first film to be sent. Third in the Apu trilogy, the movie starred Soumitra Chatterjee as an adult Apu. He had been rejected earlier by Ray because he seemed too old to portray a young Apu, but was considered perfect for this role. On the look-out for his female lead, and after being disappointed by thousands of auditions, Satyajit Ray heard of Rabindranath Tagore’s relative, a young girl who had been on stage recently. This led to the discovery and later fame of Sharmila Tagore. The movie catapulted both stars to popularity, and Satyajit Ray went on to see two more of his films sent to the Oscars - Mahanagar in 1963 and Shatranj Ke Khiladi in 1978.
1969 - Deiva Magan
The first ever Tamil submission from India to the Oscars was a movie called Deiva Magan that released in 1969. Originally a Bengali novel, whose on-screen adaptation in Tamil wasn’t a big hit, the makers decided to remake it and got producers to back it. Sivaji Ganesan played the role of three people - a father and twin sons! He pulled this off with clever makeup and great body language. The movie also starred Pandari Bai and Jayalalitha and a then 40-year-old Sivaji Ganesan was highly appreciated for pulling off a triple role successfully.
1977 - Manthan
Manthan - translated to churning - was the movie that India sent as a submission to the Oscars in 1977. Made by Shyam Benegal, one of the most loved and critically acclaimed film makers in India, it showed the world what India could do if it set its mind on something. This movie was inspired by the White Revolution spearheaded by Verghese Kurien. This was also probably India’s first crowd-sourced film because 5 lakh farmers got together and contributed 2 rupees each towards making this film a reality. It didn’t win an Oscar, but it definitely won hearts all over the world.
1983 - Gandhi
In 1983, the National Film Development Corporation of India joined hands with other production houses to help Richard Attenborough make Gandhi - the story of the father of our nation. Although it was a joint production, it won big when it was submitted to the Academy in 1983. Richard Attenborough won for Best Picture and Best Director. The crew won for best film editing, best cinematography, best art direction, for writing and screenplay. Bhanu Athaiya suddenly shot to fame after winning the Academy Award for best costume design (shared with John Mollo). Gandhi made the 55th Academy Awards really special for India. Here’s hoping for a completely Indian production winning this big soon.
1988 - Salaam Bombay
Bombay is the city of dreams - and the story about it was submitted to the jury of the Academy Awards from India. Mira Nair made Salaam Bombay in 1988, and cast real street children in the film since it was a story about Bombay’s street kids. The movie did well at home, in the US Canada, France and Germany. It won National Awards here in India and became the second submission from India to receive a nomination after Mother India.
1990 - Anjali
One of Mani Ratnam’s finest films - and all his films are fine! He always addresses themes that nobody else ever has and the same applies to this one. Anjali released in 1990 and tells the the story of a child with a mental illness who wins over everybody. It is also maestro Ilayaraja’s 500th film. Both him and Mani Ratnam had quite a tough task working with so many kids and getting them to act and sing as required for the film. The love and reception from the people made up for the fact that it wasn’t nominated to the Oscars after it’s submission.
2001 - Lagaan
The periodical that became one of the biggest hits in India in recent times - it brought together some of the most amazing people in our industry for one single project.
Ashutosh Gowariker, Aamir Khan, AR Rahman, Cricket and fighting the British - all in one film so there’s no way this film couldn’t have worked. After it became such a huge hit here in India, in the UK, US, Canada and in the Gulf, it was sent as the entry to the Oscars in 2001. And after Mother India and Salaam Bombay, this became the third entry from India to become a nomination at the Oscars.
These were some of the biggest movies that India has submitted to the Oscars and maybe we should go back in time to watch some of these masterpieces that took the Indian film industry to the rest of the world. This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com.