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India's Oscar Mania Starts

Mother India made by Mehboob Khan lost to Federico Fellini’s Night of Cabiria by (it is said) only one vote for the Best Foreign Language film award at the Oscars (1958). Now, we may go on and on discussing about the un/importance of Oscars Awards but the facts is that Oscar does stand for something. If not for brilliance in Cinematic effort, at least it is given for diplomatic prowess at selling the film. Frankly, I don’t think either Mehboob Khan or Fellini had sent their cronies to warm up to various Media agents and Movers and Shakers of Hollywood…the studios.The fact that Mother India went to Oscars does mean something. It’s like a holy orb around the movie. It’s after this orb that Indian film makers pretend to be running after but actually they are after the silverware to be found in the house of Hollywood studios. The holy orb for them translates into unholy better economic prospect for the movie…newer bigger movie deals.
I think sending a movie like Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday makes perfect sense or for a change any well made regional language film(by that I don’t mean ill fitted Jeans). But, they would probably won’t send any film instead they would send Aishwarya, she has been to the other mela why miss this one.
The people on the selection panel of FFI( for people like me who don't know-Film Federation of India) are smart; Trust them and they would get us the Oscar this year thanks to an insider deal between the Indian and the Us government. Give India an Oscar is a sub-clause in the 123 agreements. Why do you think the Left is peeved? The clause is killing the spirit of Ray, the true voice of Indian Cinema (forget his later year films with western sensibilities). The discussion sessions between the three governments i.e India, U.S and the Left, include the topic: Are Oscars  un/important?
Also read:
Indian Films and Foreign Film Festivals: A List
A comprehensive list of Indian Films that made their mark at Foreign Film Festivals.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Had a wonderful discussion about Satyajit Ray.
    These are the comments that were lost when the actual post vanished (thanks to my constant fiddling with the code of the blog). The post had to be republished with a new URL. Managed to retrieve the comments by fiddling with the comment feed.
    I didn't want to loose this one.


    With due respect and in my humble opinion, Ray's films were never westernised even in his later years. But yes! His films showed the effect of west on the life of an Indian. But I don't think that his film ever echoed western sensibilities. On the contray, it spoke against it. Watch his last, Agantuk for example!

    Hey thanks for the comment. I know you are a bit touchy about the subject of Ray; I was a witness to your duel with RK at PFC.The reason I used the word “westerner sensibilities” is because there was a time when to an intellectual which in turn meant Marxist Bengali, Ray was charged with being the “supreme representative of bourgeois culture” To quote from an article from Manas Magazine:
    "He had himself likened his films to the symphonies of Mozart. It is not merely the case that he had, as some people thought, a disdain for popular culture, since the Marxist aficionados of cinema were themselves not particularly fond of commercial cinema. Their hero was, and remains, Ritwik Ghatak, who made a handful of films, and was the cinematic poet of the partition; and similarly in the work of Mrinal Sen they found a director who was thought to be politically more sensitive. The 1960s and 1970s were a period of great political turmoil, and Ray was accused, as his friend Chidananda Dasgupta has written, of not showing a greater concern for the "Calcutta of the burning trains, communal riots, refugees, unemployment, rising prices and food shortages". No one would have known from Ray’s films that Bengal was the seat of an armed insurrectionary movement. On the other hand, films such as Jalsaghar, with its seemingly loving portrait of a zamindar who was the last specimen of a noble class of people who lived for music and displayed a refined aesthetic sensibility, seemed utterly reactionary.”

    Now, western sensibilities and bourgeois culture may be two separate terms, but I had Shtranj Ke Khilada and T.G Vaidyanathan’s reading of the film in mind when I wrote that. Frankly, “ western sensibility” is too vaporous a term to be thrown at Ray. He had his own set of sensibilities.

    Thank you very much Vinayak for your reply! I believe you haven't seen many films of Ray besides SKK. But, "Calcutta of the burning trains, communal riots, refugees, unemployment, rising prices and food shortages." Sorry. I tend to differ. I am giving you a list. He may not have shown "burning trains" in directly. But his cinematic symbols and expressions spoke more than that. And "refugees, unemployment, rising prices and food shortages?" I'm giving you a list: Please, please see their Wikipedia links and find out if they DIRECTLY TOUCHED those subjects or not:MAHANAGAR, PRATIDWANDI (it speaks about Naxals too!)SEEMABADDHA,ASHANI SANKET (severely direct!)JANA ARANYAGGBB, HIRAK RAJAR DESHE (in fantasy form)AGANTUK
    Please read about the film or even better, watch them! Then it'll be easier for you to decide.Thanks and cheers!

    You are right, I haven’t seen much of Ray’s work, as a kid, I read some of his fiction written in English. From your list, I have only seen Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, that too when I was a Kid…could barely manage to follow the subtitles, but I was fascinated.I really do need to watch more of his movies. That list of yours is really helpful. Thanks.

    You are most welcome.

  3. Managed to see AGANTUK recently (thanks to Lok Sabha Television (LSTV)! They show some wonderful movie on Saturday nights with a repeat telecast on the Sunday afternoon)
    I was surprised to see the way Satyajit Ray managed to weave philosophical meandering, discourse on culture, society et al into the story. Fascinating!
    Utpal Dutt was in his elements. Mamata Shankar was great. The scene, towards the end of the movie, when she dances to the tribal beats, is brought alive by her dancing. At first, I thought that the scene could have been edited out a bit but then slowly with the rising beats, the screen comes alive.
    Makes you wanna sit in front of the screen like a Kupa Mondok.


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