12 Indian films in Oscar race across diverse categories

NTR Jr. and Ram Charan enact Naatu naatu from S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR, eligible for Best Original Song at the 95th Oscars. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Of 301 films considered worthy for the 95th Oscars, 12 films have made the eligibility list from India in diverse categories. This “reminder list” shows their eligibility to compete in different categories, irrespective of whether they are official submissions by the country of origin or not. It is therefore no guarantee, as per the rules of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, that they will make it to the Final nominations that will be announced on January 24.

The nominations voting (by 9,579 voting members) will be held between January 12 and 17 and the final voting from March 2 to 7. The big night will be held on March 12 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

The 12 films include:

All That Breathes

Directed by Shaunak Sen, this documentary feature follows two brothers, named “the Kite Brothers”, who run a bird hospital dedicated to rescuing injured black kites that drop daily from New Delhi’s smog-choked skies.

Chhello Show (Last Film Show)

The Gujarati film written and directed by Pan Nalin talks about the passion for movies from the point of view of a young child who is witness to the paradigm changes in cinema-making and exhibition as it moves into the digital era.

Gangubai Kathiawadi

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali social adapted from a real saga narrates the story of a feisty sex-worker played by Alia Bhatt.

Iravin Nizhal (Shadow of the Night)

A Tamil film written and directed by Parthiban Radhakrishnan and starring him with Brigida Saga, the movie explores a financier ridden by guilt who is on the run, and his attempts at self-redemption.


The Kannada film directed and enacted by Rishabh Shetty was also a hit in Hindi, and spoke about the centuries-old legend of Kantara in a village and the battle between today’s greedy developers and the traditional, innocent villagers.

Mee Vasantrao

This is the Marathi musical biopic of classical music doyen Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande. Directed by Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari, this epic is nothing less than a masterpiece, with the legend’s grandson, Rahul Deshpande, essaying his grandfather to perfection, and also composing the film’s music.

R. Madhavan with ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, whose life he documented in Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. Photo: Spice PR

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect

Madhavan directed and acted as Nambi Narayanan, the top Indian space scientist who was targeted in a dirty conspiracy that alleged that he was a traitor. The authentic film was made simultaneously in Hindi and Tamil.


The S.S. Rajamouli Telugu-Hindi blockbuster has won nominations and awards at key festivals abroad and a whopping reception by audiences in USA. The director has declared today that he stills prefers love from audiences over critical acclaim, though the song Naatu naatu (Nacho nacho in the Hindi version), composed by Rajamouli’s super-talented cousin, M.M. Keeravani, has found a place in the Best Original Song category. And a ‘Stop Press’ story: He has already won the Golden Globe for the song on January 10!

The Elephant Whisperers

Director Kartiki Gonsalves spent five years following this human-elephant blended family for her Netflix documentary short about Bomman and Belli, a couple, which has been unusually successful at raising orphaned elephant calves in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in South India.

The Kashmir Files

One of the biggest hits ever in Indian cinema if we consider its box-office business (globally) with respect to its paltry investment, this Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri docu-drama of sorts, about the world’s biggest genocide that was suppressed by both the governments (state and central) then and the media, moved audiences worldwide.

The Next Morning

Directed in Hindi by Senthilkumar Alamuthu and starring Eram Ali, Susmita Banerjee and Kaakan Debnath, the film, on which deplorably little information is available, was about how children, considered to be akin to God, become devils.

Vikrant Rona

The 3D Kannada action thriller was about a curse and an investigating cop (played by co-producer Kichcha Sudeepa).



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