India is a land of many amazing feats of glory. One such feat is of cinematic excellence. This country is not just the land of Hindi films but also of Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali films. These have, on numerous occasions, resulted in worldwide recognition and in the cinematic world, it doesn’t get bigger than the Oscars. There have been several movies and individuals who have been associated with the golden statue.
Indian Oscar Winners List
When it comes to cinematic excellence recognized by the world, numerous Indians appear on the list. Some are more recent than others. Here is a comprehensive list of some of the best acting and cinematically talented individuals who have gone on to win the coveted Oscar.
1. Bhanu Athaiya
The 1st Oscar award winner in India was Bhanu Athaiya who won the award for the Best Costume Design for the film ‘Gandhi’. Bhanu Athaiya was part of the 1983 film which went on to win five other Oscars, including the Best Film award and the Best Actor award.
2. Satyajit Ray
The acclaimed director from West Bengal was given an honorary Oscar for his contribution to cinema in 1992. Some of his most poignant and important works include Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and The World of Apu which forms a trilogy following the story of Apu.
3. Resul Pookutty
Resul Pookutty won the Oscar for the Best Sound Mixing for Slumdog Millionaire. The movie, helmed by acclaimed Hollywood director, Danny Boyle, told the story of a poor slum residing boy in India who goes on to win a million rupees.
4. A.R Rahman and Gulzar
A.R Rahman and Gulzar won the award for Best Original Song for Jai Ho in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. When accepting the award, the musical genius, A.R Rahman dedicated the award to all Indians. The song became the anthem of the country and is still one of the most recognized songs from India.
5. A.R Rahman
He also won the award for the Best Original Score for Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman was later nominated twice again for the movie 127 Hours in 2011.
Indian Oscar Nominations List
While the above list mentions the Indians who have won Oscars, we now focus on the movies which were nominated at the Oscars. These films made an impact globally and their nominations at the Oscars have helped place Indian cinema at the forefront of the industry.
1. Mother India
This masterpiece was the first ever Indian film to be part of the Oscars. It was nominated in 1958 under the Best Foreign Language Film category. Though it did not bring home the Oscar, it brought India and its cinema into the global spotlight.
2. Salaam Bombay!
Salaam Bombay! tells the story of the daily lives of children living on the streets of Mumbai and quickly became the toast of award shows and film festivals. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1989.
This Aamir Khan starring film stole the hearts of Indians and the global audience. It is a heart-warming tale set in the British Raj era of underprivileged villagers beating the goras at their own game of cricket. This fictionalized take on the British Empire was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. Lagaan was a turning point in Aamir Khan’s film career and he went on to star in box-office hits like Taare Zameen Par and Dangal.
4. An Encounter with Faces
K.K Kapil and Vidhu Vinod Chopra were nominated for the Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 1978. Vidhu Vinod Chopra went on to direct and produce many critically acclaimed movies and box office hits such as Ekalavya, Munna Bhai MBBS, and Parineeta.
5. Little Terrorist
Filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s Little Terrorist was nominated for the Best Short Subject (Live Action) in 2005.
As the landscape of Indian cinema continues to evolve and change, we are seeing fresh talent coming in to create masterful pieces of art. Along with exciting new material becoming the norm rather than the exception, there has also been a growth in Indian actors working in global cinema and Hollywood.
As studios across the world begin to look for more diverse stories told by authentic voices, home-grown Indian talent will soon find its way into the mainstream and into the view of the Oscars. Not only are actors and directors being recognized all over the world, but so are our writers and production houses. As our country continues to march towards progress, our art and cinema will continue to bring new stories to the world which is now intricately interconnected.