Indian Cinema, International Recognition

We talk about box-office collections all the time, but the very best of Indian Cinema is not limited to the mainstream. Let's look at some of the major films from India that have received accolades from around the world and have inspired generations of filmmakers to strive for excellence in cinema and art. These films more than any other represent our culture, society, despair, hope, and people.

Indian Cinema, International Recognition Indian Cinema, International Recognition Source : Press


‘Sant Tukaram' directed by Vishnupant Govind Dhamle and Sheikh Fattelal is said to be the first Indian film which was globally recognized when it won a special prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1937.


Chetan Atan directed and K. A. Abbas wrote 1946 social-realist film ‘Neecha Nagar' is the only Indian film in history to win the prestigious Palme d'Or award. It was the first Cannes Film Festival and the award was shared by eleven films which included great films like David Lean's Brief Encounter and Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City.


Legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy won the Prix Internationale (international prize) at Cannes Film Festival for ‘Do Bigha Zamin' in 1953. It was also nominated for the Grand Prize at Cannes Film festival. ‘Biraj Bahu' and ‘Sujata' got nominated for Palme d'Or in 1955 and 1960 respectively.


Mehboob Khan's Mother India was India's first submission to Academy Awards where it was nominated but famously lost the award of Best Foreign Language film to Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria by just one vote.


Satyajit Ray was not only one of India's greatest ever filmmakers but he also made the most influential films of the Indian New Wave movement or the Parallel Cinema movement which was inspired by the Italian Neo-realism film movement. He is perhaps the most celebrated Indian auteur in the International film fraternity. His film Aparajito won the highest Golden Lion award at Venice Film Festival in 1957. He was presented with the Best Director award twice by the National Board of Review (USA)-for Pather Panchali in 1958 and Apur Sansar in 1960. Pather Panchali was also nominated for Best Film at 11th BAFTA Awards in 1957. He was nominated for the same category twice again at 12th and 15th BAFTA Awards for Aparajito and Apur Sansar respectively. His film Distant Thunder won the highest Golden Bear award at Berlin Film Festival in 1973. He won the Silver Bear award for best director twice in a row at Berlin Film Festival-Mahanagar in 1964 and Charulata in 1965. The international recognition which Ray received is extraordinary and unprecedented in the Indian film industry. For the world, he is acknowledged as the face of Indian cinema as he received the Academy Honorary Award in 1992.


Shyam Benegal's 1976 film Nishant was nominated for Palme d'Or at 1976 Cannes Film Festival which it lost to Taxi Driver. ‘Ankur' was nominated for Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival in 1974.


Another luminary figure of Parallel Cinema Mrinal Sen won the Jury Prize at 1983 Cannes Film Festival for ‘Kharij'. It was also nominated for the Palme d'Or. He also won the Grand Jury Prize at Berlin Film Festival in 1981 for ‘Akaler Shandhaney'. His film ‘Khandhar' won the Grand Prize for Best Film at Chicago International Film Festival in 1985. In 1989, he received OCIC Award Honorable Mention for his film ‘Ek Din Achanak' at Venice Film Festival.


Rabindra Dharmaraj's ‘Chakra' won the Golden Leopard award for Best Film at Locarno International Film festival in 1981.


The Indian-American independent filmmaker Mira Nair is famous for her provoking cinema throughout the world. She won the Audience Award and Golden Camera at Cannes Film Festival for Salaam Bombay in 1988. It was also nominated for Oscars, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards in Best Foreign Language Film category in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Her film Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion award in 2001 which remains the only award for India apart from Ray's Aparajito in Best Film category at Venice Film Festival. It was also nominated at 55th BAFTA awards for Best Foreign Language film. She won the British Independent Film Award(BIFA) for Best Foreign Language Film. She also received a TIFF nomination in 2001 for Monsoon Wedding and again in 2016 for Queen of Katwe.


Adoor Gopalakrishnan's ‘Vidheyan' won the NETPAC Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 1994.


It's a Long Way to the Sea directed by Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua had a special mention by Singapore International Film Festival in 1996.


Rajan Khosa's Dance of the Wind won the audience award at London Film Festival in 1997 and NETPAC award at Rotterdam 1998.


Deepa Mehta's Earth won Best Film award at Asian Film Festival in 1998.


Marana Simhasanam directed by Murali Nair was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Caméra d'Or.


Mani Ratnam's ‘Dil Se..' won NETPAC special Mention at Berlin Film Festival in 1999.


‘Naukar Ki Kameez' directed by Mani Kaul was the NETPAC winner at Rotterdam, 1999.


The Lady of the House Bariwali directed by Rituparno Ghosh won the NETPAC award at Berlin Film Festival in 2000.


Buddhadeb Dasgupta won Silver Lion award for Best Director at 57th Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film ‘Uttara'.


India's most iconic film made this century, Ashutosh Gowarikar's historical epic drama ‘Lagaan' was nominated at Golden Globe for the Best Foreign Language film in 2001. It became only the third Indian film, after Mother India and Salaam Bombay to be nominated for Oscars in the Best Foreign Language film category.


Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ‘Devdas' was nominated in the Best Picture category in 56th BAFTA awards for the Best Film in Foreign Language category in 2002. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's ‘Rang De Basanti' was nominated in the same category at 60th BAFTA awards in 2006 and Ritesh Batra's ‘Lunchbox' was nominated at 68th BAFTA awards in 2014.


Final Solution directed by Rakesh Sharma won NETPAC special mention at Berlin in 2004.


Indian experimental filmmaker Amit Dutta won the FIPRESCI award at Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany in 2007 for his short film ‘Kramasha'. In 2009, he won the Jury's special prize at 66th Venice Film Festival for his film ‘Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniyan'. He has won many other national and international awards which puts him as one of the most celebrated art-documentary filmmakers from India.


Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday was nominated for Golden Leopard at 57th Locarno International Film Festival. At Cannes, he was nominated for CICAE award and SACD Prize for Gangs of Wasseypur and Ugly. He received a nomination for Best Director at Asian Film Awards in 2013 for Gangs of Wasseypur.


‘Paruthiveeran' directed by Ameer Sultan won NETPAC at Berlin 2008.


Nila Madhab Panda's 2010 film I Am Kalam won the best feature film prize and the Don Quijote Prize of the International Federation of Ciné-Clubs (FICC) awards at the 33rd Lucas International Film Festival.


‘Chatrak' directed by Vimukthi Jayasundara is a Bengali film which was screened at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.


Rajan Khosa's ‘Gattu' received a ‘special mention' in Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (The Children's Charity of Germany) category at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012.


Anand Patwardhan's documentary ‘Jai Bhim Comrade' won Firebird Award for Best documentary at Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2012.


Anand Gandhi's Ship of Theseus won the Best film award at Transilvania International Film Festival in 2013.


Anup Singh won NETPAC at TIFF 2013 for his film ‘Qissa'.


Shonali Bose won NETPAC at TIFF 2014 for his film Margarita with a Straw.


Chaitanya Tamhane's Court won the FIPRESCI award at 52nd Vienna International Film Festival and Luigi De Laurentiis Award at 71st Venice Film Festival.


Neeraj Ghaywan's ‘Masaan' won the FIPRESCI award (the prestigious Critics Prize) at 68th Cannes Film Festival in 2015. The same year in the same section (Un Certain Regard), Gurvinder Singh's ‘Chauthi Koot' was also screened. It also won the Silver Screen Award at the Singapore International Film Festival for Best Asian Feature Film in 2015.


Nagesh Kukonoor's Dhanak won the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature-length film at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.


Kanu Behl's Titli was awarded the Best First Foreign Film Award given by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics in 2016.


Amit Masurkar's Newton won the International Federation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) award at Berlin International Film Festival in 2017.


Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's ‘S Durga' won the Hivos Tiger Award in 2017 at International Film Festival Rotterdam. It also won the Young Cinema Competition Jury Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival. It was also nominated at Asian Film Awards in the Best Film category.




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