The ‘Indian Oscar Dream’ was shattered once again, post ‘Barfi’ debacle – the Indian entry at the Oscars this year. Another time the same reason was proffered by our local filmmakers for the failure to grab the most coveted trophy in the celluloid world – ‘the western discrimination against the eastern world continues.’ To put it straight, our flicks have fallen flat in providing quality cinema for a long time now. We have compromised with rotten cinema making styles to rake in huge moolah and are even ready to take egg on our face for trouble-free money. Nothing else can be laid down as a foundation for this embarrassment that continues unabated year after year. We have fallen for our false pride and are continuing to do so till date, all unapologetic. Here are ten reasons why Indian movies can’t make it to the Oscars.
Noted film critic and arguably one of the most respected cinema critics globally, Derek Malcolm once declared “Indians choose the most terrible scripts.” He was spot on with his argument. Indian movies are more on emotional content that rarely finds any parallel with the globally accepted movie making styles. Full on clichés, Indian cinema, which includes the regional cinema, lack a solid script that fall short on many aspects. Barring Satyajit Ray and few other filmmakers, no one has been able to strike the right chord between reality and cinema – cinematic liberties have been taken for granted by our unprocessed filmmakers.
Indian movies are junked at the Academy Awards repeatedly for the very raison d’être that Indian flicks don’t portray India in its true light. Strange it is for a nation where millions sleep hungry-stomach each night to portray itself on the contemporary lines as the US in terms of lofty standard of living style. Protagonists are shown born with ‘ovarian lottery’ when significant part of the nation is incapable to make its both hands meet — leave alone clap. For the unambiguous reason, Danny Boyle, director of Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire who portrayed life in Indian slums was able to make it to the final list and sweep the coveted academy awards.
Sincerity is the basic ingredient for authentic movie making whereas Indian movies run heavily on gimmickry and overly cheap-spoof content. The amount of content that is burgled or plagiarized is huge; devoid of any kind of reference even. The characters are larger than life and scripts tend to play the side-most role. The movies such as Barfi where Anurag Basu heavily borrowed scenes from the Hollywood classics including Chaplin’s are good for raking easy dollars in India but can only bring discredit and ignominy at the Oscars.
The selection committee that comprises of 11 eminent members from the film world depends too much on commercial success of the movie rather than evaluating it on critical benchmarks. Vested interests hold the best films in ransom and less deserving ones get to make the tour abroad on national budget. Since 1957, only two movies that won national awards hace made it to Oscars from the list of 45 entry’s put in till date.
No excuse can wash away our grossly baffling and mystifying behavior — the local bred topics involving Mahatma Gandhi and slum children in Mumbai were portrayed on celluloid using Indian actors by the foreigners, but India’s Scorsese’s keep complaining for lack of real inspiration. Although, the new tribe of talented filmmakers from the tier 2 and 3 cities are coming up with fresh concepts but those with capacious funds are comfortable to plant out safe and rosy romances with actors double the heroine’s age.
It’s for the severe discrimination and big brotherly bully that many of the gems regional cinema find it going tough to picked out at the right choice for being considered as a potential Oscar winner year after year. What else can explain for holding upon movies such as Samskara for finding an entry for the Academy Awards. Later that year, it did win at the Locarno Film Festival.
Most of the participating nations rarely take into account the kind of films American audiences, media and jury accept. Of late, China and Iran have understood this fact and are picking their options accordingly. India will take time to realize that and will cut ice with the academy jury and audiences much later. Take the case of, Lagaan whose script was spun around the game of cricket that is not widely followed in America (unlike baseball), but despite being considered a potential winner at the awards for the year it was made it did not make it.
Not needed and forced upon music scores and dance sequences play with the pragmatic acumen of the flick and reduce it value. Although Indians cinema thrives on song and dance drama but they destroy the realism that a film essentially needs to portray. But it seems far from done, considering love of Indian directors for dancing around the trees with hundreds of accomplices in the backdrop – which plummet into the scene out from nowhere.
Right advertising and publicity is what places a film into context, something the Indian entries for the Oscars definitely lack. It’s mandatory for the movie promoters to announce it properly in the international market to draw the right kind of audiences for it. It was for lack of the right kind of publicity that accompanied films like Lagaan, Salam Bombay and Bandit Queen could not get ahead of others at the Oscars though they were among the finest of films produced for the year they were counted as the Indian entries at the Academy Awards. Earlier it was no different with a film as great as Mother India. It would require a lot of grit and dedication along with change in attitude and movie selection process if we are serious in winning an Oscar anytime in future.