The list for the Oscars nominations of 2023 has us super excited – three Indian films have been nominated, out of which one has been directed by a woman.
While SS Rajamouli’s RRR is getting all the heat and publicity, we’re here to divert your attention to the two others: Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga’s The Elephant Whisperers and Shounak Sen’s All That Breathes have been nominated in the documentary category and should be equally celebrated.
While we’re proud of having a woman in this list of nominees, this isn’t the first time Indian women have put themselves on the world map. The Academy Awards have seen many Indian women nominated for and winning this prestigious award.
Here’s a list of 6 Indian women who have made it into the list of nominees at the Oscars.
1. Kartiki Gonsalves – Best Documentary Feature (Short Subject)
In the latest moment of pride for us Indians, Kartiki Gonsalves’ The Elephant Whisperer was announced as a nominee for the 2023 Academy Awards. Produced by Guneet Monga, the Tamil documentary depicts the magical bond between elephants and their caretakers.
2. Bhanu Athaiya – Best Costume Design
Bhanu Athaiya, a costume designer and painter, was the first Indian to win an Academy Award. She won the award for best costume design in 1983, for the film Gandhi.
3. Mira Nair – Best Foreign Language Film
Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair directed, co-wrote, and co-produced Salaam Bombay, her first feature film, which was nominated in the best foreign language category in 1989. Salaam Bombay is so far the second film by an Indian filmmaker to have been nominated for this prestigious award.
4. Bombay Jayashri – Best Original Song
‘Bombay’ Jayashri Ramnath, an Indian carnatic vocalist and musician was nominated in the best original song category in 2013 for ‘Pi’s Lullaby’ from Ang Lee’s film, Life of Pi.
5. Guneet Monga and Rayka Zehtabchi – Best Documentary Feature (Short Subject)
Though Rayka Zehtabchi is an Iranian-American filmmaker, she is best known for her documentary, Period. End of Sentence., which follows the rural women of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh as they learn to operate machines that make low-cost and biodegradable sanitary napkins for the women in their village. The film has been produced by Guneet Monga, a film producer and founder of Sikhya Entertainment, which has produced some of Bollywood’s finest films (Gangs of Wasseypur, The Lunchbox, and Masaan to name a few). The film won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2019.
6. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh - Best Documentary Feature
Co-directed with Sushmit Ghosh, director Rintu Thomas’ Writing with Fire was nominated in 2022 under the best documentary feature category. The film is about Khabar Lahariya, a newspaper founded in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, run by Dalit women . It follows them as they make a shift from print to digital media. Writing with Fire was the first Indian feature to be nominated in the documentary category.
This list of filmmakers and artists reinstates our belief that stories told by women are extraordinary, and we hope to see more such nominations in the list in the future.