Bollywood in Hollywood
WITH awards season upon us in both Hollywood and Bollywood, reader Raashnee Maharaj wanted to know if any of the Bollywood stars who have ventured into Hollywood have won Oscars.
The answer is that while Bollywood stars have featured in some films that have won Oscars, only three of the almost 50 Indian films submitted to the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences since 1957 have been accepted in the best foreign language film category: Mother India ( 1957), Salaam Bombay ( 1988) and Lagaan ( 2001).
No Indian film has won an Oscar yet, but there have been a number of people connected to the Indian film industry who have won Academy Awards for their work.
The first of these was in 1982, when Bhanu Athaiya was named best costume designer for Richard Attenborough’s magnum opus biopic Gandhi. A decade later, the late Indian filmmaker of the black and white era, Satyajit Ray, won an honourary Oscar.
India’s best year at the Academy Awards was in 2008, when three awards went to citizens of the country for a single film, Slumdog Millionaire. Rasool Pookutty won the best sound- mixing award jointly with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke. A. R. Rahman got the best score and best original song award and veteran lyricist Gulzar’s Jai Ho got him the best song lyrics award.
Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, shot entirely in India with an Indian cast, won eight Oscars in different categories.
In 2013, Life of Pi, also filmed in India and starring Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Suraj Sharma, won four Oscars, all in technical categories. And long before this, Gandhi, shot largely in India in 1982, won eight Oscars.
Prolific film- maker Ismail Mer- chant has had three nominations for best picture at the Oscars. His first tryst with the Academy Awards was in 1961 in the best short subject category for his The Creation of Woman. Merchant’s nominated feature films were A Room with a View in 1987, Howard’s End in 1993 and The Remains of the Day just a year later.
Celebrated Indian- origin women directors whose films were nominated to the shortlist have included Mira Nair for Salaam Bombay in 1994 and Deepa Mehta for Water in 2007, although the latter was nominated from Canada, where she was resident.
There have often been controversies in India about the selection of the official entry to the Academy Awards. In 1964, for example, the last film of celebrated director Bimal Roy, Bandini, despite winning the country’s National Award for Best Film, was overlooked for submission to the Oscars in favour of Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar.
Roy’s Do Bhiga Zameen, made in 1953 and considered to be one of the greatest classics of India cinema, lost out on an Oscar entry because India only started sending nominations five years later.
Sir Ben Kingsley played the title role in Lord Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982. The film, which was shot largely in India, won a total of eight Oscars.