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Tagore, Pinto and Mehta figure in Oscar Academy’s new member list

Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, “Slumdog Millionaire” star Freida Pinto and director Deepa Mehta feature among Indian-origin film personalities invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be part of its new class of members.

Tagore, Pinto and Mehta figure in Oscar Academy’s new member list
(L to R) Sharmila Tagore, Freida Pinto and Deepa Mehta

Los Angeles

The Academy invited a record 683 new members —46 per cent women and 41 per cent persons of colour — as it aims to diversify following criticism of its largely white and men membership. 

British filmmaker of Indian origin Asif Kapadia — who bagged the Best Documentary Feature Oscar for Amy, based on the life of late singer Amy Winehouse — also features in this year’s class of new members. 

A two-time National Award winner and a Padma Bhushan awardee, Tagore served as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) from 2004 to 2011. She was also one of the International Competition’s Jury Members at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. 

Pinto rose to prominence through the 2008 British drama film Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Academy Awards in 2009. She has appeared in several American and British productions, often playing supporting roles. Pinto also appeared in the 2011 science fiction film Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A noted Indo-Canadian director and screenwriter, Mehta began her career with the controversial film Fire in 1996, later working on her trilogy of the elements: Fire, Earth, and Water. Mehta was born in India and has a degree in philosophy from the University of Delhi. 

“We are proud to welcome these new members to the Academy, and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement.

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