The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences has invited 14 popular personalities associated with Indian cinema to be a part of its Oscar committee. Three eminent directors from Kolkata — Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Goutam Ghose — are also in this list.
Incidentally, all three directors have never been in awe of the Oscars. Their names have been often associated with awards at Berlin, Venice and Cannes film festivals. Though highly respected in the art-house circuit of international cinema, none of them have ever won an Oscar or sent their films for consideration at the awards.
Dasgupta has never been known to have rated Oscars as the highest film event. “I have never been inspired by Hollywood. For me, Oscars has never been a benchmark for great cinema. I don’t remember aspiring for an Oscar either. Having said that, I must also mention that being invited to be a part of the committee is definitely a kind of honour for me. I have accepted the offer,” the director said.
Ghose shared that he was once the chairperson of the board that decided on which Indian film must be sent as the Oscar entry. “India produces a lot of films. Thus, we had sent a request asking if more than one film can be sent from here,” he said. Though Ghose insists that he has never been crazy for Oscars, he doesn’t have any conflict with this award ceremony. “Why just Oscars? I haven’t even craved for a Palme d’Or at Cannes. Oscar is basically an award for English language films released in the US. It is also true that some masterpieces have never got an Oscar. Even Alfred Hitchcock didn’t get an Oscar. Yet it is important to see that the academy is expanding and constituting a large committee,” Ghose said.
At 94, Sen is just a year younger than the oldest invitee (American actress Betty White). When TOI asked the director’s son Kunal about his father’s reaction to the invitation, he said, “I have mentioned it to him. He didn’t show any interest or curiosity. It makes little difference as he doesn’t watch films any more. Even when he was active, he showed no interest in the Oscars or the type of the films that compete for it. He didn’t even watch a lot of Hollywood productions. Therefore, I doubt he would have been too involved even if it happened years ago.”
Incidentally, Sen has once famously said, “Oscars didn’t make ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ a great film.”
“He preferred more serious films, not the crowd-pleasing ones that Oscars generally lean towards,” Kunal said. On being asked if Sen’s films were ever sent to the Oscars, Kunal said, “He preferred the European festivals. So, I don’t think he would have considered it, and I am not aware of any of his producers who did it either.”
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Priyanka Dasgupta / TNN / July 12th, 2017