Oscar Winners in India
As of 2013, fourteen Indians have been nominated for a total of twenty Oscars, five Indians of whom have won a total of six Oscars. Three Indian films have been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Satyajit Ray is the only Indian who has received an Honorary Academy Award, and A.R.Rahman is the only Indian who has won more than one Academy Award.
The prestigious Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, honour the best talent in film, be it Hollywood or International cinema. While India sends an official entry to the Oscars every year, no Indian film has won under the Best Foreign Film category.
Bhanu Athaiya became the first Indian to win an Academy Award in 1983, for designing the costumes for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. She’s a name to reckon with in Indian cinema. A costume designer, she styled many Bollywood actors and worked on some of the best films in Bollywood with noted film makers like Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, Raj Kapoor, and Ashutosh Gowariker. Bhanu made India proud when she won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work in the film Gandhi (1982) along with John Mollo. Starring Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the film focused on the life of the Father of the Nation aka Bapu aka the Mahatma. Bhanu was also the first Indian ever to win the prestigious Oscar award.
Satyajit Ray became the first Indian to receive an Honorary Academy Award in 1992.
Satyajit Ray– Satyajit Ray has been an inspiration to film makers across the world and his legacy remains even till date. Considered as one of the finest directors of Indian and Bengali cinema, Satyajit Ray has an exemplary body of work to his credit. So impressed was the world with his vision and depiction of cinema that in 1992, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ray an Honorary Oscar in 1992 for Lifetime Achievement. But Ray could not personally attend the ceremony as he was ill and lying in a hospital bed. However, the film maker gave his acceptance speech to the Academy via live video feed from the hospital bed.
A.R. Rahman– This great music composer, singer-songwriter, music producer and musician needs no introduction. Considered as of India’s most respected music directors, Rahman is a legend in himself. Known to collaborate with noted Indian lyricist and film director Gulzar, Rahman and Gulzar won an Oscar for Best Original Song (Jai Ho) for the film Slumdog Millionaire. But that was not all. It seemed as if the Academy wasn’t satisfied and bestowed a second Oscar on him. Rahman won once again for Best Original Score for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. In his acceptance speech, Rahman quoted the popular Hindi dialogue from the film Deewar, ‘Mere pass maa hain’ and thanked his mother on stage.
Gulzar- Gulzar and AR Rahman won an Oscar for Best Original Song for Jai Ho at the 81st Academy Awards. Gulzar who wrote the lyrics for Jai Ho and once again proved his mettle as the song went on to become a sensation even in Hollywood. Unfortunately, he could not attend the awards function. A noted poet who writes eloquent poetry in Urdu, Gulzar has on many occasions collaborated with AR Rahman and this combination worked once again for Danny Boyle’s film which walked away with all the major awards that year.