Three Epitomes of Indian Cinema at the Oscars
Oscar the mother of all awards, finally landed in the Indian kitty. The ultimate recognition in the film industry assists in opening the door to international fame and glory. But as tempting as the prize, the journey is equally grueling. It is not easy to make it to the nominations, let alone be awarded one. India, too, has waited years to bring home an Oscar. Last time the golden lady made it home was back in 2009.
After 1.3 billion Indians dreaming of an Oscar for the past thirteen years, their dream has finally come true. India made it through three nominations and bagged not one but two Oscars this year. So, excuse us if we are too loud and proud. Our excitement knows no bounds today.
And as if bagging two Oscars was not enough to land us in seventh heaven, one of the highest-paid Indian Actress-Deepika Padukone, made it to the centre stage of the Oscars as the song presenter, becoming the third Indian actress ever to do so. Our adrenaline levels have peaked. All three represented India on the global stage, and we are here to spill the tea. So sit tight as we unravel the three epitomes of Indian Cinema.
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Deepika Padukone, holding the nation's entire esteem on her bare shoulders, visible from her off-shoulder gown, represented India at the 95th Academy Awards this year. Taking the centre of the stage as Oscar presenter, her diamond Cartier necklace gleamed as the spotlight fell on her. Long before she uttered a word on the centre stage, Deepika's composure with a black mermaid-style velvet gown topped with her dented, contagious smile spoke volumes about her immense pride in representing India on the global stage.
At that moment, it was evident from her powerful, goddess-like presence why she was chosen as the Oscar presenter at the 95th Academy Awards, held at Dolby Theatre. Deepika Padukone became the third Indian actress honoured as an Oscar presenter after Persis Khambatta and Priyanka Chopra.
And just as she began the introduction for the "Naatu-Naatu" song, the crowd could not contain its excitement, sweetly interrupting her with their cheers. Deepika Padukone introduced the musical performance by Kaala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj on the then Oscar-nominated song "Naatu-Naatu", making the entire India proud.
But that is not the only highlight of the Oscars awards. The song introduced by Deepika Padukone- SS Rajamouli's "Naatu-Naatu" from the film "RRR"- won in The Best Original Song Category this year. Just as the announcement of the Indian music production's victory roared in the theatre, the entire team of RRR rose from their seats, jumping in the air and hugging out the excitement of winning an Oscar. With energetic beats and jumpy dance moves, this Telugu song also bagged the "best original song" award at the 80th Golden Globe Awards. The song is also the most-watched Telugu song on YouTube.
Rising above the tough competitors like Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand", Rihanna's "Lift Me", Sofia Carson's "Applause", and Son Lux, David Byrne, and Mitski's "This Is a Life", Naatu Naatu became the first Indian-produced song ever, to win an Oscar.
The Elephant Whisperer:
The Elephant Whisperer is a short documentary that won The Academy Award for Best Short Documentary short. This short documentary is undoubtedly a tiny glimpse of the mammoth potential of Indian Cinema. Led by the entire women's team, the short film is directed and produced by two powerful women- Gonsalves and Guneet Monga. With women bringing glory to the entire nation, the film is groundbreaking on multiple levels. From breaking gender stereotypes to raising women above societal expectations, the film is unarguably the epitome of Indian Cinema.
The film's storyline revolves around a couple who takes on the mission to cater to an orphaned elephant- Raghu. This underdog film is a rare masterpiece whose every scene screams "Oscar-worthy".
Delving at the success of Indian Cinemas at the Oscar awards, many Indian and international celebrities extended their warm greetings and heartfelt congratulations to the team of "RRR" and "The Elephant Whisperer", along with Deepika Padukone.
Kangana Ranaut, also an Indian actress, praised the poise of Deepika, while the internet dubbed her the most beautifully dressed actor at the Oscar awards. Also, many media outlets ranked Deepika among the top five best-dressed actresses for the annual ceremony.
Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi, superstar Rajinikanth, and Shah Rukh Khan also extended their greetings to the Oscar winners.
The common grounds:
The three epitomes have one common ground- southern India. Deepika Padukone originally hailed from Southern India, and the entire RRR film and The Elephant Whisperer are set in South India. And one thing to be highlighted here is that all of the tree epitomes are south-India borne, bringing home global glory.
That was about the common link between the three epitomes. However, we found another shocking yet eye-opening similarity in all the Oscar-nominated Indian films. All three Oscar-nominated Indian films- "Mother India", "Salaam Bombay" (1998) and "Lagaan" (2001) portray poverty-crippled India, where people are fighting debts and struggling to make ends meet.
Even looking at the Oscar nominations from this year, RRR and Elephant Whisperer also showcase actors drenched in poverty. This is evidence of a hypocritical American Mentality that cannot see India beyond poverty and hardships.
2023 is off to a good start for Indian Cinema. From witnessing the highest ever grossing film ever- "Pathaan", in Indian Cinema to three of the Indian-originated content to the Oscar nominations and not one but two of them bagging an Oscar, 2023 is off to a good start for Indian Cinema.
The other key takeaway is that South India is reining the Indian Cinema because the people have diverted their focus from physical attire enhancement to nourishing and cherishing mental beauty, which is also the underlying lesson we must teach from the great success of South India.
To conclude, Indian Cinema is the most diverse and the second-oldest film industry in the world, which should not aim for "Oscar validation" but rather keep up with the thought-provoking and soul-engaging content as it has been doing for the past century.