It has indeed been a historic night for Indian cinema at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
By: Mohnish Singh
India and Indians are in a celebratory mood today. Two films from the country registered a thunderous triumph at the 95th Academy Awards and made every Indian proud.
While the chartbuster song “Naatu Naatu” from SS Rajamouli’s epic action-drama film RRR won an Oscar for Best Original Song, making history as the first homemade film from the South Asian country to win the honour, The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga, won Best Documentary Short Subject, scripting history by winning 1st Oscar for an Indian production in this category and the third to be nominated after The House That Ananda Built in 1969 and An Encounter With Faces which competed for Best Documentary Short in 1979, respectively.
RRR, a film about two real freedom fighters (Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem) in British India, has been winning hearts since it hit the marquee in March last year. However, its premiere on Netflix months after a successful theatrical release turned it into a global phenomenon.
A number of high-profile filmmakers, writers, and critics from Hollywood heaped praises on the SS Rajamouli directorial. The film delivered several housefull shows in Japan and saw people grooving to the famous “Naatu Naatu” song during its recently held largest screening in a Los Angeles theatre.
The big win scored by “Naatu Naatu” at the Oscars 2023 saw several members of the Indian film fraternity coming together to congratulate team RRR. From Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi to Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman and Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu, a number of prominent names from across the industry extended their wishes after the glorious victory of “Naatu Naatu” and also The Elephant Whisperers.
But “Naatu Naatu” and The Elephant Whisperers’ big win at Oscars 2023 means much more to Indians and Indian cinema. It means Hollywood will now start looking more seriously at Indian cinema. It means Indian cinema is never going to lose its sheen; it is only going to shine brighter and brighter. It will also inspire more storytellers to explore stories deeply rooted in our culture. We are a land full of diverse stories and it is great to see that the world is finally opening its eyes to them thanks to filmmakers like Rajamouli and Kartiki Gonsalves.
This Oscar win is also going to create a conducive ecosystem where actors, filmmakers, and technicians from India get ample opportunities to show their talent not only in Hollywood and other film-producing industries also. Most importantly, the world now knows that Indian cinema is not just about Bollywood. There are several other equally talented and capable moviemaking industries across the country.
The 95th Academy Awards was live-streamed on Disney+ Hotstar in India.