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Several South Asians From Film Fraternity Invited to Join Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Several South Asians From Film Fraternity Invited to Join Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

  • They are among 487 distinguished artists and executives selected for the organization’s 18 branches, ranging from actors, directors, producers and writers.

Veteran actress Shabana Azmi, Pakistani American filmmaker Minhal Baig, Indo-Canadian filmmaker Nisha Pahuja, British-Bangladeshi screenwriter, director, and actress Nazrin Choudhury; as well as Indian S.S. Rajamouli and Rima Das are among several South Asians who were invited to join the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last week. They are among 487 distinguished artists and executives to join the organization this year. 

“Membership selection is based on professional qualifications, with an ongoing commitment to representation, inclusion and equity,” the Academy said. The Academy has 18 branches, ranging from actors to writers, and the Members-at-Large (Artists’ Representatives) category, for individuals who work in motion pictures as a representative.

Joining Baig, Rajamouli, and Das in the director’s category is British Indian Anand Kumar Tucker, whose film “Hilary and Jackie,” won him the BIFA Best Director Award and was called ‘one of the best British films of the decade’ by The Sunday Times. Last year, Rajamouli’s “RRR” made history with its Oscar win for Best Original Song, while Das’ “Village Rockstar,” was India’s official entry to the Oscars in 2019. Baig’s “All Grown Up,” about “wide-eyed and imaginative best friends” Malik and Eric, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. 

“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s class of new members to the Academy,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang. “These remarkably talented artists and professionals from around the world have made a significant impact on our filmmaking community.”

Pahuja’s “To Kill a Tiger” was nominated for the best documentary feature at the 2024 Academy Awards. Set in a small Indian village, the film tells the story of Ranjit, a farmer in Jharkhand, who takes on the fight of his life when he demands justice for his 13-year-old daughter, the victim of a gang rape, according to a synopsis of the film. “An ordinary man thrust into extraordinary circumstances, Ranjit’s love for his daughter forces a social reckoning that will reverberate for years to come.

Also named in the documentary section is Hemal Trivedi “(Among the Believers,” “Saving Face”), who’s been nominated for an Oscar, three Emmys, one Peabody and seven Emmy nominations, a nomination for MTV Movie Awards, nominations for Independent Spirits Awards and Cinema Eye Award. 

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Chaudhury, who’s joining the Short Films and Feature Animation category, is the director of the Oscar-nominated short film “Red, White and Blue,” with the central theme of abortion. This was her first film as writer, producer, and director. 

Other South Asians invited to join are costume designers Rama Rajamouli (“RRR,” “Baahubali: The Beginning”) and Sheetal Sharma (“Gangubai Kathiawadi, “Kesari”); 

producer Ritesh Sidhwani of “Gully Boy,” and “Dil Chahta Hai”-fame; Indian and choreographer Prem Rakshith.

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