India takes pride in 'Slumdog’ glory

MUMBAI - India basked in the reflected glory of “Slumdog Millionaire” after the movie’s Oscar success on Monday, although there was little red-carpet glamour to be found in the Mumbai slums where it was set.

By (Agencies)

Published: Mon 23 Feb 2009, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:52 AM

The Danny Boyle movie, which won eight Oscars including best film, has a British director, producer, writer and studio, but India has claimed it as its own because of the Indian cast, crew and location.

Indian pride was further served by a double Oscar win for ”Slumdog” composer A.R. Rahman, known here as the “Mozart of Madras,” who scooped the best original score and best song statuette at the Los Angeles awards ceremony.

“They have done India proud,” said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a message congratulating the “entire Slumdog Millionaire team.”

In his acceptance speech, Rahman, who is only the third Indian to win an Oscar, hailed “all the people from Mumbai and the essence of the film, which is about optimism and the power of hope and our lives.”

“Slumdog” received strong reviews on its Indian release and the urban audience response was enthusiastic. But some critics attacked the title as offensive, while others said the plot -- about a slum-dweller who wins a TV quiz show -- reinforced Western stereotypes about the country.

Anyone crossing the bridge of Mumbai’s Mahim railway station on Monday morning and entering Dharavi, India’s largest slum, was greeted by a huge poster stating, “We are not Slumdogs,” in Hindi.

Not only were most of Dharavi’s residents unaware of the film’s Oscar success, they weren’t even sure what the Oscars were.

Following are five key facts about 'Slumdog Millionaire', the rags-to-riches romance set in Mumbai that Sunday won the Oscar for best picture.

  • Released in November by Fox Searchlight, the movie has raked in $98 million at the North American box office so far according to studio estimates, and roughly $150 million worldwide.
  • It was nominated for 10 Oscars. Prior to Sunday’s Oscar haul of 8, it had scooped up wins at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors’ Guild, and the British BAFTA awards.
  • “Slumdog Millionaire” was based partly on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup, India’s deputy high commissioner to South Africa. Swarup penned the novel at the end of a diplomatic posting in London.
  • After production on the film wrapped in February 2007, the film was left out in the cold when distributors Warner Independent Pictures dropped it. The move was eventually picked up by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Here’s a quick walkthrough into the profiles of the winners at the 81st Academy Awards.

Best Actress : Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet was named best actress for her dramatic turn as a former Nazi prison guard who involves herself in a love affair with a teenage boy in “The Reader.” She fought back tears when accepting her trophy and remembered a time as an 8-year-old when she dreamed of winning one of the world’s top film award. Read More ....

Best Actor: Sean Penn

Sean Penn won the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his portrayal of slain San Francisco gay rights activist Harvey Milk in the movie “Milk.” Penn,picked up the second Oscar of his career, the first being his 2004 win for his lead role as a grieving father in “Mystic River.” Read More

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

'Slumdog Millionaire,' the movie about a poverty-raised tea boy who goes on a game show as a way to find his lost love, takes home the Best Picture award and leads all films with eight Oscars at the 81st annual Academy Awards. Read More

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger gives one of the best performances of his regrettably short life as a nihilist super villain in clown paint in 'The Dark Knight.' The Joker was his final completed role, a casting choice that initially drew scorn from fans who thought Ledger would not be up to the task given Jack Nicholson's gleefully campy rendition of the character in 1989's 'Batman.'Read More

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Penelope Cruz claimed the evening's first prize, supporting actress, for her role as a tempestuous artist in Woody Allen's Spanish romance 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. It's the fifth time an Allen film has earned a performer a supporting-acting honor. Read More

Best Director: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle was the clear favorite to win the Oscar, having already amassed awards from bellwether groups, such as the Directors Guild of America. “Slumdog Millionaire” marks a rare mainstream hit for Boyle, who rose to fame with the grim 1996 drugs tale ”Trainspotting.” Read More

The Complete List of Winners

  • Best Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

  • Best Actress: Kate Winslet - The Reader

  • Best Actor: Sean Penn - Milk

  • Best director: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

  • Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Best original screenplay: Milk
  • Best adapted screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best animated feature film: Wall-E
  • Best animated short film: La Maison en Petits Cubes
  • Art direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Costume design: The Duchess
  • Make-up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best live action short film: Spielzeugland (Toyland)
  • Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
  • Best documentary feature: Man on Wire
  • Best documentary short subject: Smile Pinki
  • Visual effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Sound editing: The Dark Knight
  • Sound mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Film editing: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best original score: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best original song: Jai Ho - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best foreign language film: Departures - Japan

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