Three Indian movies have made it to various lists in the Oscar nominations announced Tuesday evening — All That Breathes in the Documentary Feature Film category, The Elephant Whisperers in the Best Documentary Short Film category, and ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR in the Original Song category.
Indian movies have not had a great run at the Academy Awards since their inception in 1929. However, various artistes have won the award in different categories over the years.
Born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, the late Bhanu Athaiya wanted to become an artist. She later found designing clothes to be a more “practical” vocation and went on to contribute to some iconic Hindi films, including Pyaasa (1957), Amrapali (1966), Guide (1965), and Swades (2004).
It was her work in Gandhi (1982) that won her the award for Best Costume Design, India’s first Oscar.
A part of more than 100 films, Athaiya won two National Awards — for Gulzar’s mystery drama Lekin (1990) and Lagaan, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker.
Satyajit Ray is among the most appreciated filmmakers in Indian history. He was awarded an Academy Honorary Award in 1992, “in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and of his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.”
Ray is also the recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty were the joint awardees for their work in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) for Best Sound Mixing. Pookutty, a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, has worked in various Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films, such as Ra.One (2011), Highway (2014), Rajinikanth-starrer Kochadaiiyaan (2014) and Pushpa: The Rise (2021).
Hewon a National Award for the 2009 Malayalam film Keralavarma Pazhassiraja.
‘Mozart of Madras’ A R Rahman became the first Indian to win Academy Awards in two categories, both for his work in Slumdog Millionaire – Best Original Song (for ‘Jai Ho’) and Best Original Score. Another track from the film, ‘O Saaya’, was also nominated in the Best Original Song category.
Born in 1967, Rahman has achieved both critical and popular success in a career spanning more than three decades. He has composed music for various Indian film industries, predominantly Tamil and Hindi movies, alongside several international projects.
Rahman won a National Award for his debut, the Mani Ratnam directorial Roja (1992).
Veteran poet-lyricist Gulzar shared the prize with Rahman, as the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his work as a lyricist on ‘Jai Ho’ from Slumdog Millionaire. The artiste has won a number of National Awards and 20 Filmfare Awards.
In 2019, nearly a decade after his Oscar win, he said, “It was because of A R Rahman the song won the award. Although Sukhwinder Singh also contributed to making the song a hit by putting a lot of energy into it. Overall, I would say we all agree that it was because of the music maestro A R Rahman that the song won the coveted prize.”
Additionally, a documentary, titled Period. End of a Sentence, set in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district, won an award in 2019 in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category. The documentary was produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment and directed by the Iranian-American director Rayka Zehtabchi.
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