Will original work from India ever shine at the Oscars?

New Delhi (IANS)¬†Oscar nominations for “Lincoln” and “Life Of Pi” have raised hopes of India again triumphing at the Academy Awards gala. Film historian S.M.M. Ausaja says their wins would be good for the country, while globally acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur feels it’s high time original work from India is honoured at the Oscars.

“Lincoln”, about US president Abraham Lincoln’s struggles during the Civil War, is a production venture of Reliance-DreamWorks owned by Indian industrialist Anil Ambani, while “Life of Pi” has fetched Tamil classical singer Bombay Jayshri her first Oscar nomination for the song “Pi Lullaby”.

Steven Spielberg-directed “Lincoln” also leads the Oscar nomination list with 12 nods, closely followed by “Life of Pi”, a big screen adaptation of Canadian author Yann Martel’s Man’s Booker Prize winning novel about the survival of an Indian boy, with 11 nominations.

Largely shot in India, Ang Lee-directed “Life of Pi” also boasts of an Indian cast that includes Irrfan Khan, Tabu and newcomer Suraj Sharma.

Celebrating the 12 nominations for “Lincoln”, Anil Ambani in a statement said: “We are incredibly proud to have partnered with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider (CEO Of Dreamworks) in the making of ‘Lincoln’. I congratulate them and the great cast and crew for the 12 Oscar nominations.”

Ausaja says if Jayshri or “Lincoln” wins an Oscar, “it would not just be good for the industry, but would be great for the country as well”.

“In the past, we have had bad experiences at the Oscars and I don’t know if we have learnt anything from it, but since these movies have an Indian connect they will definitely be beneficial for us,” he added.

The Oscar journey for Indian films have so far hardly been fruitful. Whatever scattered golden statuettes some Indian artists have managed to bring home are for the movies helmed by international filmmakers on Indian themes or with Indian artists, except for legendary Satyajit Ray who was honoured with a lifetime Oscar.

Bhanu Athaiya had won an Oscar for costume design for British filmmaker Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film “Gandhi”, and 27 years later music maestro A.R. Rahman, lyricist Gulzar and sound engineer Resul Pookutty brought the golden statuette home for their work in another British filmmaker, Danny Boyle’s, “Slumdog Millionaire” that was set in Mumbai.

Shekhar Kapur tweeted: “With media celebrating ‘Indian connections’ 2 Oscars, I would rather look forward to an Indian film dominating Oscars.”

Kapur’s “Elizabeth” fetched best makeup Oscar for Jenny Shircore, while Alexandra Byrne won an Academy Award for best costume design for his directorial venture “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”. But both the films were made uner international banners.

As far as an India film’s luck in the best foreign language film category is concerned, they been unlucky so far with “Mother India”, “Salaam Bombay” and “Lagaan” reaching the short list but missing the golden statuette.

This year, Ranbir Kapoor starrer “Barfi!” was India’s official entry in the best film in a foreign language category, but it turned out to be bummer as it was not even short-listed.

Many felt “Barfi!” got dropped because the content was not original and that director Anurag Basu had reportedly lifted scenes from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Adventurer”, Buster Keaton’s 1922 comedy, “Cops”, Jackie Chan’s “Project A” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.

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