Slumdog Oscar

Danny Boyle's film "Slumdog Millionaire" has generated protest in India over its title, its depiction of the country's poverty, and its portrayal of Indians as conniving, unprincipled, and ruthless. But, for precisely the same reasons, the film has generated considerably more admiration among Indians.

NEW DELHI – Indians haven’t often had much to root for at the Oscars, Hollywood’s annual celebration of cinematic success. Only two Indian movies have been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category in the last 50 years, and neither won.

So Indians take vicarious pleasure in the triumphs of “mainstream” pictures with an Indian connection – the seven Oscars won by Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1983, for instance, or the success of The Sixth Sense, written and directed by a Philadelphian of Indian descent, Manoj Night Shyamalan.

This year, the country’s attention has been riveted by the surprise Oscar winning best picture, Slumdog Millionaire – set in India, with Indian characters, Indian actors and Indian themes – which was nominated in ten categories. Indeed, for the first time, Indian citizens won for best song and for A. R. Rahman’s musical score.

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