Telugu-language action drama film RRR’s catchy musical number ‘Naatu Naatu’ and the critically acclaimed Gujarati movie ‘Chello Show’ are among the four Indian films that have been shortlisted for the Oscars 2023 awards.
The shortlisted entries from India include ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ in the category of Documentary Short Film, ‘All That Breathes’ in the category of Documentary Feature Film, ‘Naatu Naatu’ in the category of Best Original Song, and ‘Chhello Show’, also known as ‘The Last Show’ in English, in the International Feature Film category.
Shortlists for 10 categories – documentary feature film, documentary short film, international feature film, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film, sound, and visual effects – were disclosed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which manages the Oscars.
Over the years, India has submitted the following films for the Oscars: ‘Koozhangal’, ‘Jallikattu’, ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Village Rockstars’, ‘Newton’, and ‘Visaranani’, none of which were shortlisted. ‘Mother India’, ‘Salaam Bombay’, and ‘Lagaan’ are the only Indian movies that have received Oscar nominations thus far.
‘Naatu Naatu’ from SS Rajamouli’s Telugu-language blockbuster ‘RRR’ is now the first Indian song ever to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards. The hit song was written by Kala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj, with music by MM Keeravaani. The track had taken the internet by storm, with netizens posting videos of themselves doing the hookstep. RRR had already landed two positions on the list of nominees for the 2023 Golden Globe Awards in the best picture (non-English language) and original song (motion picture) categories.
‘Naatu Naatu’ will compete with 14 other songs, including famous tracks like “Nothing Is Lost” (You Give Me Strength) from ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, “Lift Me Up” from ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and “Hold My Hand” from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.
The Gujarati film ‘Chhello Show’, a wholesome ode to cinema narrating a coming-of-age story of a young boy’s love for films, is directed by Pan Nalin and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Dheer Momaya. The international feature film lineup also includes favourites like ‘Argentina, 1985’ (Argentina), ‘Decision to Leave’ (South Korea), ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Germany), ‘Close’ (Belgium) and ‘The Blue Caftan’ (Morocco).
Shaunak Sen’s famed ‘All That Breathes’, an internationally co-produced Hindi title, revolves around two siblings and their devotion to rescue injured birds. The film has previously bagged the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Golden Eye for the Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival 2022.
The Delhi-based film is likely to be in the running to be among the top five in the best Documentary Feature category besides the other shortlisted nominees: ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’, ‘Bad Axe’, ‘Children of the Mist’, ‘Descendant’, ‘Fire of Love’, ‘Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song’, and eight others.
Produced by the illustrious Guneet Monga and directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ is a documentary that portrays an unshakable bond between two abandoned elephants and their caretakers. The documentary is up against ‘The Flagmakers’, ‘Nuisance Bear’, ‘Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison’, ‘Anastasia’, and ten other entries in the category.
The final nominations for the awards will be revealed on January 24. The much awaited 95th Academy Awards will be presented on March 12, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood, in Los Angeles.