An Accommodative Spirit
When SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ created history earlier this year by winning a Golden Globe for the Best Original Score after ‘Naatu Naatu’ beat heavyweights including Taylor Swift’s ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ and Rihanna’s ‘Lift Me Up’ (Black Panther), many must be aware of its standing in the Oscars race. As expected, ‘Naatu Naatu’, which was composed by M.M. Keeravani and lyrics written by Chandrabose, won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Awards. That was not all. Tamil documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ directed by Kartiki Gonsalves also won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, becoming the first-ever Indian production to bag the coveted award. It was a proud moment for India and Indian cinema. These awards were as significant as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which won Best Original Song and Score award for the song ‘Jai Ho’ composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Gulzar as well as Best Sound Mixing for Resul Pookutty, in 2009 is a British production though with an Indian backdrop. ‘RRR’, on the other hand, is an Indian production with typical Indian setting and tune. However, it was Danny Boyle’s directorial that ignited hopes of Indian songs and movies gaining wider acceptance and recognition. The ‘Naatu Naatu’ win at the Academy Awards held earlier this week, in a way, sent out a message that Indian music has takers. India’s official entry ‘Chhello Show’ faltered at the outset by failing to get Oscars nomination but the success of ‘RRR’ and ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ gave Indians a reason to celebrate and it should open the floodgates of Oscars in other categories in the years to come.
Besides India’s presence, this year’s Academy Awards saw Asian actor Michelle Yeoh winning Best Actress award for her role in immigrant Chinese family-based movie ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, which won seven awards including Best Supporting Actor award for Vietnamese-American Ke Huy Quan, Best Picture and Best Director. The 60-year-old Yeoh became the first Asian and second woman of colour to win the award after Halle Berry in 2002. There was fair representation of Asia at this year’s Oscars. It in a way sent out a clear message of accommodative spirit; that quality films, irrespective of region and language, will be recognised. From India’s perspective, the success of ‘RRR’, a Telugu language movie, also tells that all regional film industries under different names like Bollywood, Kollywood, etc. that are part of the larger Indian cinema landscape have equal opportunities to excel at the global stage and bring laurels to the country. The Northeast India region, which is lagging behind in this industry, too should join the bandwagon.