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Article Hindi USA

Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan, Deepika Padukone invited to join the Academy 

The actors were among 774 new members invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year.

Priyanka Chopra, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Deepika Padukone

Shriram Iyengar

India has big representation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Salman Khan have been invited by the Academy as new members on Wednesday. The inclusion of these international faces, among many others, is a sign of the Academy's intensifying drive to diversify its membership.

The Academy issued 774 new invitations, which is a record number. The invitees to the acting branch alone counted 105 members. The Indian stars will join a list of actors that include Italian actress Monica Belluci, Adam Driver, Chris Evans, Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, Chinese superstar Maggie Cheung, and the Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada.

While Chopra, Amitabh, Aamir and Aishwarya are familiar names to the Academy, the surprise additions were Salman and Padukone. The inclusion of Irrfan, who has been part of two Oscar winning films, Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and The Life of Pi (2012), seems a tad late.

Veteran director Mrinal Sen and National Award-winning director Gautam Ghose join the list of directorial members alongside Moonlight's Barry Jenkins and Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Holy Mountain, 1973). Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan has also been inducted into the Academy for his contribution in the field. Costume designer Arjun Bhasin leads the way in the designers' segment.

Amrit Pritam Dutta, the sound designer for films like Ghajini (2008), Enthiran (2010) and Slumdog Millionaire (2009), finds a place in the technical division as well. Another addition to the writers' list is Sooni Taraporevala, Mira Nair's writing collaborator on films like Mississippi Masala (1991), The Namesake (2007) and the Oscar nominated, Salaam Bombay (1988).

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement, "We’re proud to invite our newest class to the Academy. The entire motion picture community is what we make of it. It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us."

The massive inclusion of new members is the Academy's reaction to growing criticism of its exclusivity. The current membership roster shows an increase in the Academy's female membership to 39%. The inclusion of people of colour has also risen to 30% among the Academy members, showing a very positive sign.

It looks like the Indian cinema has a voice on the international platform now.