With Barfi! being India's official entry to the Oscars, we thought brush up your Oscar memory with a list of Indian films that made it to Oscar in the Foreign Language Film category.
Saaransh movie directed by Mahesh Bhatt, was the winner of Filmfare Awards for Best Actor, Best Story and Best Art Direction. the film is considered as Mahesh Bhatt's finest film ever. 'Saaransh' was India's official entry to the Oscars in 1984.
Saaransh Movie Synopsis: Saaransh is a story of an old couple living in Bombay, coming to terms with the death of their only son who is killed in a mugging incident in New York.
Saagar movie directed by Ramesh Sippy, won Filmfare Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Male Playback Singer. Although Saagar was just another love-triangle, it was selected for the Oscars for its polished narration and masterly technique. It was sent to the Oscars in 1985
Saagar Movie Synopsis: Mona (Dimple Kapadia) runs a small restaurant in Goa. Raja (Kamal Hassan), who lives close by, is a good friend. He is in love with her but is unable to profess his feelings. Ravi (Rishi Kapoor) is from a rich industrialist family who moves to Goa from the US. Mona and Ravi fall in love of which Raja know s nothing. Ravi's grandmother is opposed to their love because of class differences.
3) Salaam Bombay
Salaam Bombay directed by Mira Nair, was the first Indian film to reach the nomination stage. Salaam Bombay won the most prestigious National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and was also listed in the "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" by the New York Times
Some unknown facts: Most of the young actors who appeared in Salaam Bombay! were actual street children. They received dramatic training at a special workshop in Bombay before they appeared in the film. In 1989, director Mira Nair established an organization called the Salaam Baalak Trust
Parinda directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, won five Filmfare and two National Awards, Parinda was considered to be the turning point in reality in Hindi cinema, as the film showcases the real life of Indian underworld gangsters and the life of residents of Mumbai.
Some unknown facts: The film was initially named Kabutarkhana. Anna Seth, the role played by Nana Patekar, was supposed to be played by Naseeruddin Shah. The role of Kishen which was played by Jackie Shroff, was originally meant to be played by Amitabh Bachchan.
'Anjali' directed by Mani Ratnam, was director's second entry for the Oscars. Anjali is about a dying mentally disabled child, and the emotional trauma experienced by her family. This was the first movie that started the concept of an acting baby.
'Henna' directed by Randhir Kapoor, which was Randhir Kapoor's directorial debut, could not have got a better start than being selected for the Oscars.
"Heena' was recived well by the audience for the locations it was shot in and the excellent musical score. The movie had super hit songs and picturesque scenery of Kashmir.
'Rudaali' directed by Kalpana Lajmi
Even today the movie is remembered for its soul stirring music and story line. The title is a Rajasthani word meaning 'female weeper' who is hired as professional mourner upon the death of upper-caste males.
The film was based on the short story written by famous Bengali litterateur Mahasweta Devi.
8) Bandit Queen
'Bandit Queen' directed by Shekhar Kapur
The audience and the selectors all had high expectation from 'Bandit Queen' at the Oscars, but it didn't reach the nomination stage.
The movie is based upon the life of Phoolan Devi. It won the Critics Award for Best Movie at the Filmfare and National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Actress
'Indian' directed by S Shankar
Yet another Tamil movie nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards, Indian won three National Film Awards. The film was dubbed and released in Hindi and Telegu as Hindustani and Bharatheeyudu.
About the film: The movie tells the story of corruption in India, with a former soldier becoming a vigilante to stamp the problem out.
'Guru' directed by Rajiv Anchal
'Guru' was first ever Malayalam film to enter the Oscars. Guru was fantasy movie on the utopian concept. It is highly symbolic and makes a statement on terrorism and the evils of the world. It was the first time when Hungarian Symphony Orchestra was used in Indian cinema
'Jeans' directed by Shankar
The film revolves around a Non-resident Indian man, Nachiappan, who has twin sons, Vishwanathan and Ramamoorthy. As a result of Nachiappan's separation from his twin brother, he wants his sons to be married to twins. How the couple manages to change his father's decision to marry his sons to twins forms the crux of the story.
'Earth' directed by Deepa Mehta
The story is set in Lahore in the time period directly before and during the partition of India in 1947.Shanta, Dil, and Hassan are part of a small group of friends from different faiths who spend their days together in the park. With partition, however, this once unified group of friends becomes divided and tragedy ensues.
13) Hey Ram
'Hey Ram' directed by Kamal Hasan
The film is about a man's journey from religious hatred to love with the theme of the partition of Bengal in the background. Its relevance in the present Indian environment clouded by religious extremism was widely unrecognized. The film takes place as Ram, a retired archeologist, lies on the deathbed, on 6 December 1999, the 7th anniversary of the destruction of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya.
'Lagaan' directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar
The film is set in the Victorian period of India's colonial British Raj and revolves around the peasants from a barren village who are oppressed by high taxes imposed by their rulers. They attempt to persuade the British officers to reduce the taxes, instead a wager is offered. If their village team beats a British team in a game of cricket, their taxes for three years would be cancelled. After accepting this wager, the villagers face the arduous task of learning an alien game and playing for a result that will change their village's destiny.
'Paheli' directed by Amol Palekar,
Paheli was India's entry for the 79th Academy Awards. The movie tells the story of a wife who is left by her husband and visited by a ghost, disguised as her husband, who is in love with her and takes her husband's place. Sunil Shetty, Juhi Chawla, Rajpal Yadav and Amitabh Bachchan have supporting roles in the film. The story has been previously adapted into film, Duvidha (1973) by Mani Kaul.
The movie didn't dp well on the box-office though.
16) Rang De Basanti
'Rang De Basanti' directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
The story was about a British documentary filmmaker who was determined to make a film on Indian freedom fighters. Upon arriving in India, she asks a group of five young men to act in her film. They agree, but after they begin filming a friend of theirs is killed, with government corruption appearing to be the root cause of the incident. This event radicalizes them from being carefree to passion-driven individuals who are determined to avenge his death.
17) Eklavya-The Royal Gaurd
'Eklavya-The Royal Gaurd' directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra
This movie was a comeback film for Vidhu Vinod Chopra as a director, though the movie had roped in all big names it didn't fare well at the box office, but it got selected for the Oscars.
18) Taare Zammen Par
'Taare Zammen Par' directed by Aamir Khan.
The film is about the life and imagination of eight-year-old Ishaan (Darsheel Safary). Although he excels in art, his poor academic performance leads his parents to send him to a boarding school. Ishaan's new art teacher (Aamir Khan) suspects that he is dyslexic, and helps him to overcome his disability. The film had touched the heart of the audiences and it made to the nominations at the Oscars as well
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