When we grow around the constant need to win, to do more, it’s almost difficult to acknowledge what we did. So, stopping every now and then and appreciating ourselves or others is something that doesn’t come easy. But watching people root for All That Breathes looks like we’re trying to change our ways. Being nominated in any of the Oscars categories is a journey itself, and that deserves acknowledgment as well.
The idea behind art is to create something that speaks to people, or to impart ideas that do not find any space in the real-world. All That Breathes did that. And it shows in the connect that people found with the film. We were constantly looking for updates, rooting for it and more. And that’s a win as well – to be able to find an audience that cares enough. Of course, we’re celebrating The Elephant Whisperers and RRR, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate more films. There’s always space for love, it’s hate that drains us.
So, an Oscar win or not, a good film is still a good film. And it deserves recognition. The idea of winning has been instilled in ways, that we often forget that not all competitions have the same parameters. The Academy Awards, for instance, consists of a jury and as credible as they are, it’s still subjective. And let’s just face it, the entire point of these categories is that some films will be left out.
All That Breathes left audiences feeling so many things. I mean, how could a story of two brothers rescuing and treating injured birds not have that impact? It was honest, it was special and it focused on something that we’re mostly deprived of – empathy. Now, that’s the takeaway from this film, to learn and be better. In a world where there’s constant hate, even a sliver of hope can make a difference. So, making a film like this, is victory itself.
And don’t take me wrong, that doesn’t mean that all the other films that did win, do not matter. But two things or ideas can co-exist, right? Also, the fact that an Indian production made it to such a platform deserves celebration itself. So, we could totally do better than headlines like – “Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes loses out to Navalny“. Because, there are so many other ways to address this. Like, “Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes made India feel seen.”
The fundamental idea of cinema is to create banter, make people feel like they’re part of a community. With All That Breathes, people have at least started a conversation, and a healthy one at that. As we scroll Twitter, we’ve got people who are happy about the big wins, but the same people care just as much about this documentary film. And THIS feeling has made them want to talk to others who feel the same. Even that’s recognition.
And really, there are so many other films that deserved to be nominated, but that’s not the format, and it’s okay. The intent of these award functions, is to stop and recognize what we HAVE done. It’s about appreciation, sure. But, it’s also about making others a part of this world (film industry), that otherwise seems far-fetched. And sitting in front a rectangle, rooting for our favourite films and artists, does just that.
So, instead of taking it as a loss, we need to think about all the ways in which the film did win. It won hearts, it won in imparting a message that speaks volumes and it also won in bringing like-minded people together, even if that is for a short discussion on Twitter. Most importantly, it won in telling a story of people like us. Not many people, or films can do that.
The world isn’t at its best, at this point. And we’re constantly losing at humanity. So, whatever little light there is, we need to acknowledge it and gather it, as much as we can. Oscars will come and go, but that doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate cinema on a daily basis.