The award for the most sepia film goes to …

This morning, I had a vision of a meta-awards ceremony, one that honored all things brown at the Oscars. Although the Oscars aren’t until later tonight, desis are lousy at keeping secrets (what’s the last successful desi surprise party you went to?), so I’ll let you know what was inside the brown envelope:



  • Award for the brownest movie goes to … The Little Terrorist. How much browner can you get than a movie about Indo-Pak conflict and cricket at the same time? The star is a former street child who was taken in by an organization founded by Mira Nair after the success of Salaam Bombay, so this movie gets bonus brown movie points. Better still, the movie is a testiment to desi frugality and ingenuity:
  • With little cash to fund his project, Kumar’s hopes rested on a short script with a strong message. He posted the script on the internet, asking people to help him make the film even though he couldn’t pay for their services. Kumar was also keen to cast non-professional actors, a technique he admired in Iranian film. “Around 15 people turned up from all over the world. I met most of them for the first time on location in Rajasthan,” says Kumar. [BBC]

    This is India’s first entry in the short film category since 1979, and the first short film to get a commercial release in India.

  • The award for the brown-themed movie with the best chance of winning goes to … Born Into Brothels. A documentary about prostitutes’ children who take photos of their lives, it’s already won almost every other documentary prize out there. It will be hard for the Academy to resist a movie about the transformative power of film, even if the kids are taking still' rather thanmoving’ pictures. [There is controversy about the film, including whether it can even be considered a documentary, but I don't think it will have an impact on its Oscar chances.]

  • The award for stealth brown entry goes to … the South African film Yesterday, a tragedy about an HIV positive South African woman facing death. The movie is noteworthy for having been shot entirely in Zulu, despite dire warnings that nobody would show or watch a film that was in a vernacular language. The film’s producer is Anant Singh who worked with director James Darrell Roodt on films like Place of Weeping, Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country. Anant Singh will also be working on the movie version of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela and directed by Shakhar Kapur.

  • The award for the brownest member of the academy goes to … Ashutosh Gowariker, the director of Oscar nominee Lagaan. It’s funny to me that the Academy has put an old-school Bollywood guy like Gowariker on the film jury at the same time that the Little Terrorist’s Ashvin Kumar is saying things like
  • “I hope my film starts a trend encouraging alternate and experimental film-making. That way people can discover that there is more to Indian cinema than Bollywood [BBC]

  • The award for the lamest Oscar rumor goes to … the claim that Ash might be presenting at this years Oscars if her film with Paul Berges (Gurinder Chadha’s husband) doesn’t run over schedule. Huh? Do or do not. There is no try with the Oscars. Does anybody think the producer of tonight’s show is going to leave that one hanging? But if I’m wrong, I’m sure you’ll see photos here tomorrow …
  • See also previous SepiaMutiny posts on The Little Terrorist, Born into Brothels, and Gowariker and the Oscars .

    2 thoughts on “The award for the most sepia film goes to …

    1. sigh … according to the official aishwarya website, aish will be busy shooting her mistress of spices film and won’t be able to attend.

    2. Gee, it wouldnt be a proper function without the obligatory movie about Hindu fundamentalists, nuclear weapons, and intransigent mainly Hindu India and smaller Muslim Pakistan etc. Without these soundbites, aint any movie gonna get an award!