Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court is India’s entry for the foreign film category at the Oscars. It pipped other strong contenders to the post such as the lovely Masaan and the memorable Kaaka Muttai . Court is an important movie of our time, as it reveals the highhandedness of those in power and the powerlessness of those who are not, and the absurdness of our state.

Even while Court is rich in merit, the Indian obsession with the Oscars is rather unseemly. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film have come to naught since 1957. The only three films to have been nominated (note: they didn’t win) are Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay (1988) and Lagaan (2001). It is rather quaint that we still care about this category at all and that we even bother to nominate a film year after year. The Academy has barely ever cast a sideward glance at any cinema that is not American and yet we bend backwards hoping for at least a shard of recognition.

The Oscars provide Hollywood the best opportunity to make politically astute comments and giveus a chance to gawk at fashion on the red carpet. But as any serious cinema critic and watcher knows, it’s not really about quality cinema. It is about movies that sell, movies that will pack theatres and movies with a message. Preferably a red-white-and-blue message. Hell, American Sniper won best movie this year.

At a time when we are creating our own little gems such as Killa and Masaan , it is clear that Indian cinema is flourishing. To show our appreciation for such movies, we need to pack theatres, buy the popcorn and enjoy movies with authentic plots and strong actors. For once, let’s not look outside for a stamp of approval because really, they don’t care about us, and we shouldn’t either.

Senior Assistant Editor

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