India’s rich and diverse film industry has produced many critically acclaimed and commercially successful films over the years. Despite its immense popularity, Indian cinema has only been recognized by the Academy Awards a few times, with a handful of Indian movies receiving Oscar nominations over the years.
“Mother India”, directed by Mehboob Khan “Mother India” was the first Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar and for Best Foreign Language Film at the 30th Academy Awards. The film is a classic of Indian cinema and tells the story of a poverty-stricken woman raising her sons alone. The film was praised for its solid performances and emotional depth and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made in India.
“Salaam Bombay!” directed by Mira Nair “Salaam Bombay!” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 61st Academy Awards. It tells the story of a young boy who runs away from home and lives on the streets of Mumbai. The film was praised for its gritty realism and powerful performances and remains a landmark in Indian cinema. The director, Mira Nair, had a successful career in Hollywood and has remained an important voice in international cinema.
“Lagaan”, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker “Lagaan”, was a groundbreaking film in Indian cinema, and it was nominated for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Song at the 74th Academy Awards. The film tells the story of villagers in colonial India who challenge their British rulers to a game of cricket to avoid paying taxes. “Lagaan” was praised for its sweeping cinematography, epic scale, and catchy musical numbers. Although it ultimately lost in both categories, it remains one of the most beloved Indian films ever.
“Rang De Basanti” directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra “Rang De Basanti” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th Academy Awards, and it tells the story of a group of young friends who are inspired by the story of Indian freedom fighters to fight corruption in modern-day India. The film was praised for its youthful energy, innovative storytelling, and powerful social commentary. Although it ultimately lost to the German movie “The Lives of Others,” it remains a cult classic among Indian cinema fans.
“Jallikattu” directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery “Jallikattu” was India’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards. The film, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, is a visceral and intense exploration of human nature and primal instincts set in a remote village in Kerala. The film was widely acclaimed for its innovative storytelling, stunning cinematography, and brilliant performances and was selected as India’s entry after winning numerous awards worldwide at film festivals. Although it did not receive a nomination, “Jallikattu” is considered a landmark achievement in Indian cinema and is a testament to the country’s growing influence in international film.
The third Indian film to make it to the final list of Oscar nominations is ‘The Elephant Whisperers’.
The Netflix film is nominated in the category of Best Documentary Short Film. Directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, the documentary shows how two abandoned elephants and their keepers form an unbreakable bond. The movie takes us deep inside the 140-year-old Theppakadu elephant camp in Tamil Nadu to meet Bomman and Bellie, who lovingly rear baby elephants that have strayed from their tribe.
SS Rajamouli’s masterpiece RRR scored one for the best original song for MM Keeravaani’s composition “Naatu Naatu” (which already has a Golden Globe). Set in the 1920s, the film follows the unlikely fellowship of Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.), two Indian freedom fighters who come together to revolt against the British Raj. The high-octane “Naatu Naatu” appears in a sequence in the movie when Bheem’s dancing capabilities are ridiculed at a royal party, leading to an electrical dance-off between the protagonists.