I have never felt more proud to be Indian. What a great night! Slumdog Millionaire, that most Indian of films, won a slew of Oscars and vindicated the creative genius of 1.2 billion Indians. I don’t know about you, but I choked with pride when the 265 strong contingent went on stage to receive the Best Picture Oscar, though the presence of some non-Indians in that group irritated me. Especially that gora making the speech. What was he trying to do, steal our thunder? Typical of the Brits, trying to appropriate an Indian movie as their own.
I know that some of you spoilsports have probably ODed on the euphoria, but I haven’t. I consider the almost non-stop coverage in India of this historic win, to the exclusion of any other news, deficient. It seems the media have a problem with Indian pride. This was an Indian honour, as much as Sunita Williams’s ascent into space and Bobby Jindal’s assumption of the governorship. India Rules, said quite a few websites and TV screens. Indeed it does. Why grudge us our moment of triumph?
And what a triumph! A film shot in India, with Indian actors, an Indian music composer, an Indian sound mixer and based on a book written by an Indian – what more proof of Indian-ness could one ask for? What’s that? Did someone say director and producer? Let me tell you, Dannyji has very strong India connections. He lived in India while the film was being shot, his people lived here for centuries (at least till 1947) and hey – curry is his favourite food! And India has also produced the film, because, as we all know, the wealth of Britain came from India – when we were the greatest country in the world and all that. So the money used to produce the film is actually Indian. Therefore it is an Indian film. QED.
Sonia Gandhi, the PM and other notables have swung into the felicitations game, and Chidambaram is planning to exempt Rahman – and only Rahman – from any tax in case the Academy does decide, in an unprecedented break with tradition, to mark this momentous occasion by giving ARR some cash as well. Poor Resul’s achievement, even after his truly heart-wrenching “This is for my country” routine, was ignored by Chidambaram.
There are strong recommendations that the cast and crew should immediately be given Bharat Ratnas. And that the government should announce cash awards for all those associated with the film. February 23rd may also be declared Slumdog Divas, a national holiday and dry day. It is rumoured, though, that the government is not too keen – yet – to give in to demands to declare Slumdog India’s National Film, or to rename the Dadasaheb Phalke awards.
The government has, however, declared the slum complex of Dharavi a national and protected monument. No changes, alterations or modifications would henceforth be allowed in Dharavi, and it will be preserved in its current state for posterity. In fact, to boost tourism, the government reiterated its commitment to create more Dharavis all over India. Full page ads were taken out in prominent newspapers by the Ministry of Urban Development, taking credit for a consistent and focused programme of slum growth, without which this honour might not have been possible. The opposition declared this a poll gimmick and threatened to complain to the Election Commission.
In related but unreported developments, Amar Singh declared himself the Bade Bhaiya of the entire cast and crew of Slumdog (for some mysterious reason, Freida was not on the list of siblings), and even offered Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Danny Boyle party tickets to contest the Lok Sabha elections. When someone pointed out to him that none of them was actually eligible or qualified, he said “Yes, I know, but don’t worry, we will create criminal records for all of them.” (With inputs from the Crapola News Network)