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India’s ‘Writing With Fire’ misses Oscar in a close finish

A scene from 'Writing With Fire', an Indian film which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature

At the 2022 Oscars, Delhi-based filmmaker duo Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh-directed 'Writing with Fire' lost out the Best Documentary Feature honour to 'Summer of Soul' (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)'.

'Writing with Fire' is Thomas and Ghosh's debut feature documentary about a newspaper 'Khabar Lahariya' started as a social experiment by an NGO. It's India's only rural newspaper run by Dalit women since 2002, started by Delhi-based NGO Nirantar from Chitrakoot in the Bundelkhand region. The documentary captures 'Khabar Lahariya's' switch from print to digital in recent years. It follows how the newspaper's Chief reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, redefining what it means to be powerful by reporting India's biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, questioning notions of patriarchy and redefining power, investigating local police-force incompetence, listening in and standing by victims of caste and gender violence.

It was the first Indian documentary made by an all-India independent production to bag an Oscar nomination in this category. 'Ascension', 'Attica', and 'Flee' were the other nominees.

'Summer of Soul' (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar this year is a documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African-American music and culture and promoted Black pride and unity.

Previously, in 2009, India's AR Rahman had won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Song ('Jai Ho') in 'Slumdog Millionaire'. The legendary Gulzar also bagged the Best Lyrics honour that same year.

The 94th Academy Awards are being held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and the ceremony is being hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. The nominees had been announced on February 8 this year.

Also read: Uncensored Video: Hollywood star Will Smith punches Oscar presenter