|From Utpal Borpujari, New Delhi:|
|Indian filmmakers are yet to crack it despite all the talk of Bollywoods increasing global reach, but 27 years after Richard Attenborough did it with Gandhi, it has taken yet another British cinematic genius to make an Indian film that has created a storm at the Oscar nominations.|
Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is officially a British film, but if Indians are rejoicing at its grand critical and box-office success despite the whimper of protest about its “poverty tourism” aspect, it is only because it is a completely Indian story in its soul.The ten nominations for Slumdog are just one short of Gandhi’s 11, and it will be on February 22 that the world will know if it can surpass Gandhi’s eight wins in 1982, but Boyle’s film is one that has brought immense cheer for the Indian film industry for more reasons than one.Quite justifiably, it is the three nominations to musical genius A R Rahman that have led to the biggest cheer. But in reality, several more Indian names could actually become Oscar winners on the D-day. For, there is the sensitive poet Gulzar who has been nominated for his lyrics for Jai Ho in the best song category along with Rahman, and Maya Arulpragasam whose name is there for the lyrics of the best song nominee O Saya which she has written jointly with Rahman.
That the Oscar nominations have been announced just a day before 400 prints of the film are released in 85 centres all across India in both its original and Hindi dubbed versions, is just a nice coincidence for those involved with the film.
And they are not only the ones who have got the nominations, but also the many Indian faces in the cast, from stars like Anil Kapoor to powerful actors like Irrfan Khan, from debutants Dev Patel of Britain and Frieda Pinto of India to the brilliant child actors who are the real stars of the film, apart from co-director Loveleen Tandon. In a sense it is a real ensemble film that is all about the triumph of the human spirit against all odds, and the Indian nominees would also be hoping for a similar triumph against tough contest on the D-day.
On February 22, one billion pairs of Indian eyes will be riveted on the television screens, hoping that Slumdog Millionaire will be able to do what Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan could not do – bring home the statuette!
(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com / www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 23-01-2009; http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jan232009/scroll20090123114134.asp?section=frontpagenews)
PS: One reader pointed out in an email response that Maya is a Sri Lankan Tamil based in the UK. Thanks for the correction