“Deepa Mehta‘s Water fails to win Academy Award,” reads the ticker at the bottom of television screens, as another Oscar night slips into day. Thus, the “Canadian” film that wasn’t allowed to be shot in India by hoodlums joins a long list of Indian films—Lagaan, Jeans, Rang de Basanti, etc—that have failed to bag the golden statuette.
Yes, the Academy Award is not the last word in film appreciation. Yes, it is silly to expect Western validation of our cinematic sensibilities. Etcetera. But if we can appreciate their films, stories, accents, and more, just what is it in our films that puts off the white skins? What do our films lack to win the award that every filmmaker craves?