It would be the first time an Indian movie, namely-RRR, took the world by storm, especially Hollywood. Several international publications predicted that the Telugu pan-India movie would receive nominations in multiple major categories at the 95th Academy Awards. However, it was snubbed. The film's director, one of the most in-demand filmmakers in the country, has been roped in by a Hollywood talent agency, CAA (Creative Artists Agency). According to reports, RRR is the only non-English language film to have trended on Netflix for ten weeks in a row. Although this has been one of the proudest moments for all of us, let's take a brief look at how Indian cinema evolved and how its artists have made the nation proud on global platforms with their sheer talent and accolades.
A brief history
India's history of cinema dates back to even before the pre-independence era. It is now the world's second-largest film industry, producing over 800 feature films a year. For all these years, the look of Indian cinema has changed for the better, be it the story, techniques, or the overall approach. From the era of silent movies to today's VFX-rich movies, Indian cinema has a lot to offer to the global audience. It is important to understand that when we speak of Indian cinema, it is not limited to Bollywood, which makes Hindi films, but also includes movies produced in more than 20 native languages in India, including Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Odia, Assamese, Marathi, and so on.
Indian stories and the spirit and love of filmmaking are dominating the global entertainment scene. The country has given birth to some great legends who took Indian cinema to the world stage with their work that reflected versatility in philosophy, style, approach and making. Filmmakers like V Shantaram's film Do Aankhen Barah Haath won the Samuel Goldwyn Award at the 1959 Golden Globe Awards, while Guru Dutt and Mrinal Sen were recognised for their meaningful narrations. But it was the great Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray who took Indian cinema to the centre stage of the world with his progressive and visionary depiction of the common man. He made the nation's artistic presence felt across the globe with films like Pather Panchali in 1954, Aparajito in 1957, and Apoor Sansar in 1959, which won several international accolades and were also screened at Cannes.
Indian Artists Who Made It Big In Hollywood
In addition to several movies being nominated for some of the world's most prestigious award platforms, many have won them and are renowned for their work. Composers AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja, and lyricist Gulzar are highly celebrated Indian artists.
That being said, Indian actors not only enjoy popularity and recognition but are also admired for their contributions to the field of cinema. Irrfan Khan was one of India's most distinguished and hardworking stars who became a bridge between Indian cinema and Hollywood. His work outside the country has been outstanding with movies like Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider Man, Inferno, etc., and he has also earned numerous accolades honouring his rare craft. Another Indian actor who is now a global icon is Priyanka Chopra, who made her Hollywood debut with Quantico and is still going strong with her impeccable acting skills. Veteran actor Anupam Kher has appeared in a number of foreign films, including the Golden Globe-nominated Bend It Like Beckham. Kher was nominated for a British television show for a supporting role in The Boy with the Topknot in 2018. Having said that, several Indian celebrities enjoy a cult following overseas.
India At Cannes
All these achievements of Indian cinema and its flag bearers have made us all proud. The Indian film industry, directly and indirectly, creates millions of job opportunities while also contributing to the nation's development. Lately, Indian cinema has been influencing the international market and its audience because of its proficiency and skills in the field. In recent times, it has gained a different level of recognition and identity in international forums. For the first time, India got a separate pavilion at the recently held 75th Cannes Film Festival. A delegation of Indian artists represented India's cultural diversity and prowess during the popular film festival. Deepika Padukone, a regular at Cannes, was invited as a Cannes jury member.
Craze For Southern Language Films
Movies from South India are creating a new wave of craziness among international audiences too. India is not only serving grand storytelling in the theatres, but it is also producing freshly crafted creative content. Movies from the South, such as Baahubali, RRR, KGF, Pushpa, and Vikram, have achieved phenomenal success in the international market. The most expensive Indian film so far, RRR, was applauded by western critics, who called it incredibly entertaining. Hollywood directors like the Russo Brothers, Scott Dickerson, and British actor Joseph Morgan praised the film for its stupendous narration and direction. Scriptwriter Aaron Stewart Ahn expressed that he would love to write for Telugu actor Ram Charan.
Indian Stars Felicitated By AMPAS Membership
In June, Bollywood star Kajol, Tamil actor-producer Suriya, and filmmaker-writer Reema Kagti were among the 397 artists who received an invitation to join as members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the one that organises the Oscar awards annually. At the same time, Surya's film Soorarai Pottru was India's official entry to the Oscars 2021. The actor's Jai Bhim became the first Indian film to be featured on the Oscars' YouTube channel.
Demand For Indian Stars
Talking about the new additions to the list of actors making it big in Hollywood, Dhanush and Alia Bhatt are on top. Dhanush, who made his debut with The Gray Man, will also appear in the sequel of the film, whereas Bhatt has shot for her Hollywood debut film, Heart of Stone, which also features Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot. The actress' latest release, Darlings, currently has the biggest opening on Netflix for a non-English language Indian release. The movie is a hit not just in India but now ranks in the top 10 film categories in 16 countries, including the UAE, Malaysia, Kenya, and Trinidad & Tobago. The streamer claims that in its first weekend, Darlings attracted 10 Million viewing hours.
Flourishing Indian VFX Market
Apart from all the above achievements, India has had impressive growth in the animation sector. By 2020, India's animation and VFX market was worth over Rs 2000 crore, with both intellectual content and larger investments in VFX by studios generating opportunities in the domestic and international markets. The industry was valued at around 83 billion Indian rupees in 2021, and by 2024, the industry indicates a growth rate of 29 per cent, with its value amounting to 18 crore.
As per a report by the Boston Consulting Group in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry, it is estimated that by 2025, India will be able to capture around 20-25% global share of the VFX and animation industry and create up to 75,000-1,20,000 jobs. Further, up-skilling and improved infrastructure could make the VFX industry in India a global destination.
The talent and storytelling ability that India possesses are unquestionable. Several Indian films and artists have been recognised for their adept calibre worldwide. The country's ability is not merely limited to only being identified in foreign lands, but it has the capable standards and services combined with creative and technical expertise that can elevate India to a new level and assert superior dominance in world filmmaking.