Saturday, January 13, 2007

BAFTA for Rang De Basanti?

After achieving a cult status in India, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti has now been nominated for the BAFTA awards (better known as the British Academy Awards). This makes it the third Indian film and fourth Hindi film to be nominated in the "Film not in English Language Category". Third Indian and fourth Hindi film? Well, Asif Kapadia's The Warrior is a British film. Recall the controversy about its rejection at the Oscars, because it was not in the language indigenous to the submitting country (UK). This rule was later changed in 2006 - that's how Canada could submit Deepa Mehta's Water as its official entry for the Foreign Film Oscar.

Will Rakeysh Mehra and Ronnie Screwvalla walk away with the honours at the Royal Opera House, London on February 11th? I don't think so. No, I wouldn't give the most obvious reason: that the voters for these awards do not completely comprehend the grammar of Indian commercial cinema. Even if they did, Rang De Basanti is pitted against films like Pan's Labyrinth and Volver - films that have already received phenomenal acclaim the world over, with some critics even calling Pan's Labyrinth the best film of 2006. It's also expected to bag an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (not only Best Foreign Language Film). Volver also has got tremendous worldwide appreciation for Penelope Cruz's performance (another sure shot Oscar nomination). In such august company, Rang De Basanti doesn't stand a chance. But look at the bright side, if the British Academy could even utter RDB in the same breath as these films, it's an acknowledgement of its calibre.

Talking of BAFTA, do you know that an Indian won a supporting actress award more than two decades back? I don't think many people even remember that. Do you?