Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

Location: the valley, California, United States

Bay Area, Strategy Manager, Haas- U. C. Berkeley, Marathons

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ismail Merchant R.I.P

Apart from being a fabulous producer, he was also a reasonably good director (Muhafiz, Mystic Massseur) and a self-confessed gourmet cook. Not many folks know about his efforts in getting Satyajit Ray a lifetime Oscar. This is from Merchant's autobiography:

At about this time I learned that Ray, who suffered from a heart condition, was declining in health. I felt it was time for him to be recognized for his important contribution to cinema by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which had never honoured him. I got in touch with Martin Scorcese, who I knew shared my admiration for Ray, and suggested should lobby the Academy. Scorcese and I drafted a letter that was sent to Academy members petitioning their support. The response was overwhelming and extraordinary. Fellini, Kubrick, Lucas, Coppola, Zeffirelli, Kurosawa, Paul Newman, Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen were just a few of the movie luminaries who unreservedly endorsed our proposal. Among the many hundreds of those letters and testimonials written to the Academy's board of governors,
that of Gregory Peck made a significant point:

"With the current U.S. preoccupation with weekly box office figures, projected to the press and the TV audience like football scores, the image of our industry is that box office figures are our sole measure of success.

By honouring Satyajit Ray, the Academy would not only honour a true artist in film, it would remind the public and the media once more that Academy Awards are given for artists' excellence."

Ray was elected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992.


Anonymous Ravi said...

Hi. First time here from Gowri's. Sorry to say this but I should have come earlier. Nice blog..will read slowly but surely! :)

3:59 AM  
Blogger Sunil said...

Hmm....i didn't know about this one.....most interesting. But it seems strange that someone like Ray needed so much lobbying to get the statue...

Sorcese might have to settle for the same lifetime statue looks like.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Thanks, Ravi.

Sunil - well, Ray is just one among the many all time greats and I'm sure they have to decide who gets the lifetime achievement award *that* year. Hence, the lobbying.

7:28 PM  

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