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This article was first published 13 years ago

Colin Firth's Indian connection

Last updated on: February 24, 2011 13:18 IST

Image: Colin Firth in The King's Speech
The Oscar 1Oscar 2Oscar 3Oscar 4 and Oscar 5 quizzes have been fun, haven't they? Here's one more to sink your teeth into.

1. Colin Firth, the front-runner for this year's Best Actor Oscar prize, has a strong Indian connection. What is it?

'My maternal grandfather rebelled against the Church of South India over certain things. He became a doctor, in fact. He went out there as a church missionary (this is my maternal grandfather) and at the age of 38 he decided that he would be of better use in that country as a doctor, so he decided to get medical training.'

'The only country in the world that would train a man of that age was the United States. So he took his family to the United States and went through medical school in Iowa for seven years, and then went back to India and set up practice there in osteopathic medicine.'

'My mother's interest has always been very much in alternative comparative religions. And the subject of her fairly recent Ph D was death and bereavement in a Gujarati community in Southampton for which she learned Hindi.'

Two years after he graduated from Cambridge, in 1930, Cyril Bruce Firth, Colin's paternal grandfather, headed for India and worked in Bellary -- now better known as the home of Karnataka's Reddy brothers and the iron ore mines -- for 19 years.

Reverend C B Firth -- who wrote a book on Church history in India -- was also involved in the establishment of the Church of South India, fluent in Kannada, and worked as prinicipal of of the Union Kanarese Seminary in Tumkur in the former Mysore state before he returned to England.

Dr Montague John Rolles and his wife Helen Jean, Colin's maternal grandparents, worked in Kamalapuram in Kadapa district -- the political bastion of Andhra Pradesh's late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy -- for many years. YSR was a Protestant and we wonder if the Jolles and his parents knew each other.

When King George VI -- who his grandson played most memorably in The King's Speech, died in 1952, Dr Jolles was asked by his school to pay tribute. He noted: 'Standards of greatness vary, and it is unlikely that historians will remember George VI as great, as we understand that term. Yet in an indefinable sense, he had the greatness of simplicity, and that is why he was greatly loved by all who knew him.'

Of course, Colin also acted in The Last Legion with both Ben Kingsley and Aishwarya Rai, a film set in the Roman era that didn't do well.

Today's Oscar Challenge!

Image: Adrien Brody, Marlee Matlin, Tatum O'Neal, Norman Taurog and Timothy Hutton
Photographs: Phil McCarten/Reuters, Danny Moloshok/Reuters, Steve Fenn/Reuters, Getty Images, Fabrizio Bensch

2. Adrien Brody, Marlee Matlin, Tatum O'Neal, Timothy Hutton, Norman Taurog are all Oscar winners. They share one distinctive fact. What?

a. They all won Oscars the same year
b. They were nominated for two Oscars the same year
c. They are the youngest in their category to ever win an Oscar.

Today's Oscar Challenge!

Image: Steven Spielberg, Shekhar Kapur and Martin Scorsese
Photographs: Danny Moloshok/Reuters, Tim Wimborne/Reuters and Yves Herman/Reuters

3. The winner of the Best Supporting Actor (1981), the winner of the Best Director (1982), the winner of the Best Actor (1996), the winner of the Best Supporting Actress (2004), the winner of the Best Supporting Actor (2008) have one man in common. Who?

a. Steven Spielberg
b. Shekhar Kapur
c. Martin Scorsese

Today's Oscar Challenge!

Image: A scene from Toy Story 3

4. Toy Story 3 has been nominated for Best Picture Oscar this year. Name the only two animation films to be nominated for Oscar for Best Picture.

a. Beauty and the Beast and Up
b. Toy Story and WALL-E
c. Ratatouille and Finding Nemo

Today's Oscar Challenge!

Image: A scene from The Scent of A Woman

5. Tariq Anwar, who has been nominated for Best Editing this year for The King's Speech, has something in common with the only Oscar Al Pacino has won. What?

a) Anwar and Pacino worked together on The Scent of A Woman
b) Anwar has edited most of Pacino's recent films
c) Anwar's daughter worked in The Scent of A Woman

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