The Indian Confusion Over The Oscars


It looks sometimes very interesting and surprising to me as to how much we get undue influence by the western media and western publicity and almost whatever they do. Nobody knew Danny Boyle in India even after the release of Slumdog Millionaire worldwide (now I’m not saying he wasn’t known among the industry experts, they know every new kid of the block as it’s their business). But, as soon as the news of Slumdog Millionaire begging 4 Golden Globes and 7 BAFTA awards spread, Danny Boyle was already a superstar film maker overnight!

Film critics, all of them, loves him and his work and gave his movie a 4 on 5 star rating, some even went ahead boldly and gave 5 out of 5 star rating, hum. I watched the movie twice and I really liked the movie. But, don’t tell me that it’s the best ‘Indian’ movie made so far just because it won Golden Globes and BAFTA and it just may win the Oscars tonight. Don’t tell me that Slumdog Millionaire is a better movie than Lagaan, Mother India, Sholay, Taare Zameen Par, or even Munnabhai MBBS/Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rang De Basanti etc. And if you think Slumdog is the best movie made in India so far, better than the best of Indian cinema so far, I already don’t like you, did I tell you that? And, it is not a completely Indian movie in the 1st place; the banner is American, sweeties! It has an American director and producer and the movie is purely a taste of Americans and not of general Indian. You like this movie so much because it has won some ‘prestigious’ awards. You like this movie so much because you think it has chances of winning the Oscars, the first ever Oscar won by an Indian movie. Now, is this an ‘Indian’ movie first of all? Why do some people die for the Oscars so much? Why do these guys think that the Academy Awards are the best for the whole world? They may be best for English movies made for the American market not for the rest of the world including India and Indian audience.

Indians loved Lagaan but did it win the Oscars? NO. Why not? Because the jury of the Academy Awards are almost all Americans and they don’t know so much about the cricket and the passion every Indian carries for cricket today; because they don’t know much about who Aamir Khan is here in India and hence even his small dialogues and acts which might have made an Indian viewer go ‘fida’, it would have done no effect to the minds of the Oscars jury.

Indian youth loved Rang De Basanti but it didn’t even get nominated for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Oscars. Why? Because all the jury members know about India is the poor and the hungry Indians. They don’t know that a rich India exists with good looking people and decent character; Because they couldn’t see any slum in the movie; Because they couldn’t get connected to the idea of the movie like how almost every Indian who watched it did.

Satyajit Ray won the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Oscar award. I’ve seen some of his films. Now, I’m not a very good film critic, but all I can say is that almost all of his movies focused on the poor, hungry and very sorry looking people of India. He portrayed the ‘real’ India. This is what the West wants to know and see about India. They don’t like Indian IT, they don’t like the Indian economic growth of today, they don’t understand the new age youth mentality here, they don’t give a damn to the riches of India (why should they). For them India is still the India of 1940s – the land of elephants and serpents; for them this is still the land of poor and hungry people; this is still the land of slumdog roadpatis.

Now, you must be thinking that I’m all against this. No, you may be wrong here. I just don’t understand the fact why Indian people and experts are so much after the Oscars which is not the ultimate award for any other country except the United States or may be the United Kingdom. If they want to be the ultimate award for the art of movies across the globe, they must change the way they look at world films made in different languages. You have less than 400 movies produced in the USA in a year and you have about 40 awards to give amongst these. India along produces over 1000 movies a year, China produces nearly the same number of movies in a year; roughly if we calculate the whole world except the USA and the UK produce more than 10,000 movies in a year and you have just 5 nominations for one damn single award amongst them! And you want us to call your award the ultimate? Give me a break! And give those oscar-loving-freaks a break, too, who wish to overlook these numbers and live in a wonderland of their own.

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Kunal Pandya

Kunal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and startup evangelist. He has helped build and scale up several businesses and products from the ground up. Apart from NCrypted, he serves as an advisory and is on the board of several of our client companies that we partner with.

4 thoughts on “The Indian Confusion Over The Oscars”

  1. I agree with you, Kunal. Rest of the world knows India as a country of poor. This is an age old mentality they have been carrying. They can not still accept the fact that India is a growing country. Neither, they know or like cricket much. So their perception on Indian cinema is of poverty. Now Danny just showed that and all eyes were stared upon him.

    Had he had pictured Lagaan, I doubt, he would received all prestigious awards that he won for Slumdog Millionaire.

    It’s a bloody bitter fact that, even today, most Western people look at India as a country of poor. I read Amitabh Bachchan’s blog, where in some article he has shared his experience in France. He said that he was a car, and on a traffic square it was stopped due to red signal. He saw some people rushing towards him. He said that at first he was amazed to know even in France he is this much popular. But his driver, revealed the fact that they were not his fans but beggars of France!!

    So even countries like France have poverty. But I wonder, why India is considered as landmark of poverty!!

    Question is, if Slumdog Millionaire wins Oscar, should every Indian feel proud or ashamed?

  2. atyajit Ray won the 'Lifetime Achievement' Oscar award. I've seen some of his films. Now, I'm not a very good film critic, but all I can say is that almost all of his movies focused on the poor, hungry and very sorry looking people of India. He portrayed the 'real' India.

  3. Kunal..Satyajit Ray didnt got the Oscar not for portaying the poor….you probabaly dont know , this film is based on a one of the Greatest Novel of Bengal

  4. Lagaan, Munnabhai MBBS ..didnt got OSCAR as they are just copycat of Hollywood movie (Lagan- copy of "victory" , Munnabhai MBBS copy of "Patch Adams")..Sholay was a "Indian curry Western film' from 7 Hollywood film…..Satyajit`s film was original and he showed real India ..most of our people are poor (in 1971 ..54% population was poor in 2005 42 %) thats a fact of life!!

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