Even if RRR (2022) ended up with just one Oscar for the song ‘Naatu Naatu’, the film’s larger impact is evident from the fact that members of RRR’s cast and crew make up for nearly half of the inductees from India.
Actors Ram Charan, NTR Rama Rao Jr, production designer Sabu Cyril, cinematographer KK Senthil Kumar, composer M.M Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose – behind Naatu Naatu, which won Best Song – were all invited. Curiously, director SS Rajamouli is not on the list.
The likes of Shah Rukh Khan, A R Rahman, Guneet Monga, Zoya Akhtar, Naseeruddin Shah, Kajol, Suriya and Ali Fazal (among others) have previously been invited to become members of the Academy. The Academy’s members have reportedly exceeded over 10,000 at this point.
On the back of arguably India’s most successful year at the Oscars – with Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes (2022) and RRR painting a dynamic portrait of the range in Indian cinema – this might be a significant moment for all stakeholders to step back and reassess.
With more Indian members in the Academy than ever before, one would be tempted to think how it might affect the selection of Indian films in the near future.
Does it mean we should be optimistic about more Indian films making inroads into the Oscars? Sen doesn’t think so: “I don’t think it would be fair to intuit a one-to-one correlation to this, especially since Indians are still not a sizable group compared to other countries, in terms of Academy members.”