And so the news is out that India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category, film ‘Newton’ is out of the Oscars 2018 race.
‘Newton’ as we all know has been one of the countless Indian films that had made an attempt at winning the coveted trophy over the years without any luck. What is it about the Indian films that fail to meet the high standards set by its contemporaries from across the world? Even small countries with miniscule film industry have bagged the honours and India despite being the numero uno in filmmaking and churning out hundreds of films year after year, fail at the Oscars.
In the last 100 years of Indian cinema, only 3 Indian movies had managed to reach the nomination level at the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language film. The fact that they didn’t win is secondary. The real picture was that they put India on the global map of filmmaking.
First, it was Mother India way in 1958, the first Indian film to make an attempt at the Oscars but ultimately lost to an Italian film Le Notti Di Cabiria. And then after a long wait of 30 years, another film Salaam Bombay directed by internationally renowned director Mira Nair made it to the shortlist but again was a losing cause to a Danish film, Pelle Erobreren.
And then came Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan starring Aamir Khan in the lead make a dash for the Oscars a decade later. Frankly speaking, the film had no chance at the Oscars simply for the fact that most of the jury members wouldn’t have been able to digest the four-hour length duration of the film nor would have understood the fine art of cricket around which the movie was based. And the end result – Lagaan too turned a damp squib at the Oscars.
All these three films did fairly well at the domestic box office and was a hit with the local critics as well but on an international platform, it failed to deliver.
And now Newton too left no impressions in the minds of the jury at the Oscars. So another year and another wait to get the maiden Best Foreign Language Oscars home.
Why our films fail at the Oscars needs to be introspected.