Why is Indian Bollywood failing to win the Oscar?
Updated: Mar 19
There is an organization within the United States, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has been conducting a function since 1929. Here people give awards, which are also called academic awards. And we know it by the name of Oscar. So who gives this award and how are the winners of this award decided? See, this organization has more than a thousand registered members who act like judges for different categories. There are separate members for the Writer category. There is a separate member for the director's category. Similarly, there is a separate member for the actor's category and the one who is registered in that category decides the winner by voting in that category and the names of these registered members are never disclosed. This is the award function of the United States in which awards are given for 23 categories and one of these 23 categories is best movie foreign language. For this one category, all the countries nominate and send movies from their respective countries. This does not happen in any other category. This is the best movie foreign language category, no Hollywood movie can participate in it. In fact, if dialogues are more than 40 percent in English, then that too gets rejected.
Talking about the film Funny Boy, the movie was rejected because it had more dialogues in English, and if a country wants to participate in the rest of the category, then that movie should have run for at least seven days in the US commercial theatre. When countries send their nominations, then the registered members of the Oscar select the top 10 movies by voting. Out of those top 10, the top 5 are selected and out of those top 5, there is a movie that wins Oscar.
The Film Federation of India decides which movie from India will go to the Oscars. Every movie that has been produced between October and September of the previous calendar has a censor certificate and has run in commercial theaters in India for seven days, the producer of that movie is eligible to nominate his movie to the Film Federation of India. Out of all the submissions that come, the film federation selects a movie and sends it to the Oscars. Every year around 1800 movies are produced all over India. It has been 63 years since 1958 till today and only three times the Indian film has been nominated. Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.
In the whole world, we are number 1 in film production, but even after that a country like Monotonia, which is far behind us in terms of money and population, becomes a finalist behind our films. You must be thinking that Indian movies are special movies, they are long, and they have songs, where will the Oscar judges understand? This is wrong. There were also songs in movies like La La Land and Chicago. Lord of the ring, Gone with the waves was a very long movie. And when countries like Iran and Monotonia are winning, then why are we not able to win a single Oscar for so many years? Those who defend this thing say that we do not need the approval of Oscar. See, Oscar may not be really important, but the by-product of Oscar is very important. When a movie wins an Oscar, it brings its country to the global platform. Some countries celebrate it like the Olympics. For example, how many of you have seen or heard of the Parasite movie after winning the Oscar. When any movie wins Oscar, people from all over the world explore the cinema and culture of that place. Oscar may not be important but the exposure you get because of it is very important.
Today date, we see, people have started watching Korean movies and series all over the world. They have come into the mainstream by winning an Oscar. People are getting to know about the culture there. And notice came only after winning series like Squid Games and Parasite. So is there a dearth of talented resources near us?
AR Rahman, Gulzar, and the Late Irfan Khan, all of them are winning Oscars by working with outsiders, and as soon as they associate with Indian projects, there is a problem. Directors come from outside, use our story, our culture, our resources, our actors, and even crew members, make a movie and leave with an Oscar. Those people never come here and take big stars because they have to act. Suppose I am the captain of a team that has been losing for the last sixty years, one day a person comes from outside, becomes the captain in my place, and wins the world cup by using the same team. This means there is no problem in the team, there is a problem with the execution of the captain. So the captain should sit and think about where he is wrong rather than say that we do not need the approval of any world cup.
If we talk about the data from 1957 to 2012, then the Film Federation of India has sent 45 movies to Oscar, out of which 30 movies were from Bollywood. They give less preference to Bengali, Malayalam, and Telugu movies. While talking about the National award, their performance there is poor. Bollywood has won only eight national awards, while Bengali movies have won fourteen and Malayalam movies have won twelve. Now what criteria they use to select and why Bollywood movies send it more in Oscars, is still a mystery. The most important thing about Oscar awards is that no movie should be copied if a judge has only doubt, there is no need for evidence. If he has only doubts, he will reject the movie right away. There is 0 percent tolerance for this in the Oscars and any other person will be there even if he has 0 knowledge of the Oscars, he will never waste his time and the country's time at the Oscars by sending copied movies. But even after that, we sent films like Gully boy and Barfi to Oscar. Barfi copied Charlie Chaplin's as-it-is scene and lifted the climax completely from the note. Everyone knew this thing, even after that this movie was sent. The Gully boy movie has been copied from 8 miles. By hitting a search, you will know which scene has been copied. Instead, if we had sent Sonchiriya of the Late Sushant Singh Rajput, then at least we would have got a chance to win. Gully boy was out in the first slot itself, victory is a distant thing. And we have given more than forty awards in different categories to the same movie.
When we do such a thing that a movie fails miserably at the international level, and we give forty awards to it in India, then we are telling our benchmarks in front of the world. Be it comedy, science fiction, thriller, or action romance is put in everything. See, when you send it to Oscar, it doesn't end there, you have to get your film screened in at least fifteen or twenty film festivals and some get screened in fifteen to hundred film festivals and each film festival costs money to screen a movie. Think of a film festival as an expo of a movie or a fair of a movie, where your movie goes, people talk at the international level, your movie is marketed. Like the Cannes festival, Berlin film festival, or Venice film festival. The way a new player has to be selected for the Indian cricket team, we keep an eye on domestic cricket, in the same way when movies are screened in different film festivals, the marketing of the movie is done. People talk about the movie, and the movie about which people talk more has an influence on the judges of the Oscars. That's why people get their movies screened in maximum film festivals. Having a good movie is a very important thing, but having a screening inside a film festival also plays a very important role.
Recently one of the Indian song "Nattu Nattu" won Oscar for the best original song. This song is from the Tollywood movie "RRR".
Do you think if Bollywood continues to work like this, it will win Oscars?