Why is it hard for Bollywood to find its road to the Oscars?
For Indians, the mere thought of getting a nomination for Oscars brings huge satisfaction. With such an audience, imagine getting awarded an actual Oscar for their work in the field of Hindi cinema? Not only those in the movie business but the Indian audience also will be ecstatic with the recognition.
But why do movie experts find it a far fetched dream despite the best efforts of the Indian filmmakers? It is to be understood that in India, the impact that Hindi cinema has on the audience is unparalleled. Be it dealing with social issues or talking about time for change of attitude, Bollywood movies have always learned and impacted the views of the audience.
Despite the best efforts and impactful factors, Bollywood movies fail to grab the attention of international audiences and even though some of the movies get nominated for Academy Awards, they don’t register any win.
Let’s take the White Tiger for example. The White Tiger was very well received by the critics and even the audience for its brilliant display of relatable characters. However, despite being shot in India, it was not produced by any of the hundreds of directors in the country. The discussion is surrounding this particular movie because it was recently nominated for best screenplay at the Oscars.
Even though a lot of talent comes from Bollywood but the industry seems to miss out the point of relevance in such cases. In 2009, when Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars in various categories, India was extremely proud of this achievement regardless of the fact that the movie was actually shot by Danny Boyel, an American.
That movie, too, showed the extreme living conditions of the country. Just like the White Tiger, it could be classified as a rags to riches story. The closest that Hindi cinema could come to winning an Oscar was for an old classic ‘Mother India’, which starred Nargis in it. It was shot by Mehboob Khan and was nominated for best foreign language movie in 1958.
But off course, it too, failed to win. Same thing happened with Amir Khan’s Lagaan. But that brings us back to the question–why? If we sit and analyse the kind of stories Bollywood has been producing since the last 50 years, we will find that all of them have something in common. They don’t talk about you. By ‘You’ it means that it lacks connection with the audience.
The concept of movies essentially originated to show and expand the state of the society so that more and more people can be aware of the situation. But with Indian movies, we started going to theatres with hopes to forget the reality and live in the cinematic world. Though, some of the movies can be based on such a structure but it is a whole different thing when the entire movie industry is based on such concepts. These are called the concepts of rescue. The plot revolves around a person suddenly appearing from nowhere to save the world.
Another factor responsible for Bollywood not living up to the standards of filmmaking is when it looks to change its course, it tends to lean on the American structure of filmmaking. There is no doubt that America leads the world cinema but what needs to be understood is that blindly getting influenced by American movies and their style of production will make your creativity irrelevant.
What bollywood news to probably look at is its own genre, something that is not influenced by the American or the western societies but is true to the Indian audience and structure of living. It should be something that is closer to the reality not further away. Producing quality movies will only make Hindi cinema shine at international platforms and then the filmmakers can take a leap of faith for the Oscars.