Oscars 2013: The Indian Connection, From 'Life of Pi' to 'Lincoln'
Oscar glory could shine on Indian classical singer Jayashri Ramnath – known on the concert circuit as Bombay Jayashri - who is co-nominated for best original song for Life of Pi.
The 11 Oscar nominations for Ang Lee's film have put the spotlight on India -- given that Life of Pi features a variety of Indian talent, including lead actor Suraj Sharma, plus the fact that it was partly filmed in South India.
Jayashri shares her nomination for the song "Pi's Lullaby" - for which she wrote the lyrics in the South Indian Tamil language – with the film's composer Mychael Danna, who's also nominated for best original score. Jayashri and Danna are up against Adele for Skyfall, J Ralph for Chasing Ice, Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane for Ted and Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil for Les Miserables.
Soon after the nominations were announced Thursday, Jayashri was in the media spotlight interviewed by various news networks and other outlets.
"What I wrote is something every mother has on her lips when she cuddles her child," explained Jayashri about how she wrote "Pi's Lullaby."
Jayashri is a well-known name in Tamil cinema, having sung a number of songs with major composers including Oscar winner A R Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). While Jayashri is the only Indian nominee this year, other Oscar-nominated films also have a strong India connection.
Lincoln, which tops with 12 nominations including best director for Steven Spielberg, is produced by DreamWorks -- the studio is equal partners with Indian conglomerate Reliance ADAG.
"We are incredibly proud to have partnered with Steven Spielberg and (DreamWorks principal and co-chair/CEO) Stacey Snider in the making of Lincoln. I congratulate them and the great cast and crew for the 12 Oscar nominations," Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani said in a statement.
Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty was partly filmed here last year in the north Indian city of Chandigarh where the Manimajra market was turned into a Pakistani setting. The shoot was briefly disrupted as some groups protested the display of Pakistani flags and Urdu language shopfronts recreated for the set. According to a newspaper report Friday, Manimajra shopkeepers "were thrilled to hear that Bigelow's film is in the running for five Academy Awards."
Another major Oscar contender, David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, features veteran Indian actor Anupam Kher. While he is not nominated, Kher posted a series of tweets: "8 Oscar nominations for Silver Linings Playbook! I am going MAD with HAPPINESS! God is GREAT... Congratulations and thanks to the entire team of Silver Linings Playbook. It has been a grand journey. Thank you Indian Cinema :)"
India won its first Oscar with 1982's multiple-award winning Gandhi which saw Bhanu Athaiya sharing an award for costume design. In 1992, the late director Satyajit Ray was given an honorary Oscar. Following a long spell, 2008's Slumdog Millionaire saw Oscar wins for composer A R Rahman, sound designer Resul Pookutty and lyricist Gulzar.
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While this year's Oscar nominations have again put India in the spotlight, director Shekhar Kapur (whose 1998 film Elizabeth won an Oscar for best makeup while receiving numerous nominations) seemed to have the last word on the subject as he commented in a tweet, "With media celebrating 'Indian connections' to Oscars I rather look forward to an Indian film dominating Oscars."