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Sharmila Tagore, Deepa Mehta, Freida Pinto join Academy's Class of 2016

Filmmaker Mehta and actresses Tagore and Pinto have been invited to join the most exclusive movie club in the world.

Sonal Pandya

In recent years, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has come under the scanner for not nominating or honouring more women or people of colour at the Oscars. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has been a constant trending topic around the awards ceremony for the past two years. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been working to rectify that and increase the membership to reflect the changing diverse world.

To that effect, the academy has invited 683 people from across the world in different filmmaking fields to join its ranks. The new class of 2016 is made up of 46% women and 41% people of colour. Amongst them are Indian actresses Sharmila Tagore and Freida Pinto, part of the 283 new international members from 59 countries who will join the 6,261 existing members. Other Indian-origin artistes who have been invited are filmmakers Deepa Mehta and Asif Kapadia (whose documentary Amy just won the Oscar), Pixar animators Sanjay Patel and Sanjay Bakshi, and independent filmmaker Anish Savjani.

The 89th Academy Awards will take place on 26 February 2017.