7 Oscars for Slumdog millionaire

As the media frenzy behind the Oscars hots up, and the contenders are exhausted by the publicity, marketing, partying, and hype enforced upon them, it is good to sit back and take a clear picture of what is really going on behind the scenes and the incredible hype of the Oscars.
First the contenders who spend 3 months eating drinking and breathing the Oscar hype. Most of them forced to do so by their distributors, publicists and their film distributors. Soon they are so exhausted that all their speeches sound the same and they use the same ‘key words’ again and again in their interviews. After a while they start believing in their own key words and their own hype ! Believe me I have been there.
But who are the people that decide. Who is behind the Academy of Motion Pictures that put out what is essentially one of the most lucrative TV franchises in the world ? Lets divide the Academy into those that are working and those that are not. Those that are working rarely see film in theatres but on DVD’s, so do not get a clear idea of the intentions of the film maker. Many do not even see the films and vote on basis of the media hype. That is why Studio’s spend so much money on Oscar campaigns. Knowing as they do that Academy members are influenced by reviews and by media hype. Like normal people. In fact the Academy had to publish a booklet warning distributors/producers and studio heads not to over hype their Oscar campaigns. That was aimed at Harvey Weinstien without naming him after his campaign for Shakespeare in Love.
Then there are those that are not working, retired comfortably or not so comfortably in retirement homes. Since you are an Academy Member for a lifetime, the average age of the Academy tends to veer towards the older, and especially as the retired have the time to see the films and fill in the voting papers. There is no compulsion to vote. I am a member, but since I do not manage to see all the films in theatres, or even on DVD, I do not vote. How do you see a hundred odd films every year, and be fair to all of them ?
That is why the journey of Slumdog Millionaire has been incredible. It is not a film that was over-hyped, nor the kind of film that would be considered Oscar worthy. It is a film who’s time had come. It was a film that broke all the rules and brought something fresh and culturally different to jaded Academy viewers. It got them to sit up and watch as Rahman’s uplifting score bashed away over images of poverty and opression, and the kids seemed to dance with their eyes to that score even under the most extreme circumstances. Just for it’s freshness and experience of new cultures it deserves every success it is getting. And Danny Boyle has done that before – his compassionate view of drug addiction in Scotland in Trainspotting still holds as a ground breaking film.
Today I leave for a retreat and unlike the rest of the world I am not going to watch the Oscars. But I think it will walk away with 7 Oscars. I will be disappointed if it does not. But is the best film of the year ? That I cannot say as I have not even seen all the nominated films. But I know how I reacted to Waltz with Bashir. It had a tremendous emotional impact on me.

62 Responses to “7 Oscars for Slumdog millionaire”

  1. Haha! Thanks for sharing this funny, honest and interesting insider view of the Oscars…
    You should do like me and sit with Shiv for lessons instead! 🙂
    http://universalcollectiveprayer.blogspot.com/2009/02/maha-shiv-ratri-night-of-sitting-for.html

  2. kedar says:

    Hi dude…
    this year the films which have made to Oscar are not that good…last year was better…
    Slumdog? yes…its a film whose time had come…
    it is definitely not the year’s best…its a popular genre, fresh for westerners, fresh in technique for Indians…
    i think Indian film makers should think very seriously about choosing a film for Oscars… DHARAVI was boring but was much better than Slumdog in terms of content…
    what if it would have been told in much more poetic and cinematic way?…i think the film maker failed to ENTERTAIN at all levels in DHARAVI… we need to revive our story telling techniques…Indian film makers should think seriously about this too!…rather about this first and then about choosing an entry…
    Anurag Kashyap and some around him are desperately trying to be WORLD FILM MAKERS but they fail to understand that Story telling techniques have always been universal. one doesnt need to use flashy techniques and confused characters to make a World Cinema…Simplicity is the answer…
    i got a forwarded email from a friend…there was Q and A session of Robert Mackee…
    he said one beautiful thing-
    Q: Do you see the art of story via screenwriting evolving over the decades, and if so, how?
    Robert McKee: No. Tastes and trends come and go, but the essential art of story has not changed since Cro-Magnon storytellers sat their tribes around the fire and held them slack-jawed with tales of the hunt. Personally, I wish filmmaking would devolve from the nervous cut-cut-cut move-move-move herky-jerky camera of today back to the expressively lit, framed, fluid images of the past. Too many contemporary directors seem inflicted with HADD.
    i am going to watch Oscars because i am writing a script and unfortunately there is a deadline…so i will be writing whole night…and exactly around 6 or 7 in the morning i start feeling sleepy…so i was going to watch BODY OF LIES which i recently downloaded ( PIRACY)…but Oscar is a better option…it will be aired at 6.30 am…so by the time the program gets over my batteries would recharge and i will sit to write again…some good faces…awkward fashion, some good jokes, Zhakaasssssss kapoor smiling all the time( he seems over owed with whatever happening to him right now…as if local night cricket guy from galli( small lane) has suddenly landed up on Lords…Ring ring ringaaaaaa) …will be a good watch…

  3. harijim says:

    Just watched the film yesterday night on Tata Sky.The technicals of the film are good but they would be given an experienced Director and 15 million $ spent on it.But as for the soul here’s my take:
    Rudra’s point of showing the hindus in bad light generally was valid.Is Danny boyle(or the west in general) worried why the muslims in India are not creating a civil war.I could see a seed there sympathising with the Indian muslims at the stake of hindus.
    Funny not a single question on how the british misruled India.Or how torturous were the invading Muslims before that.Or who killed millions with just two atom bombs.
    While the ‘real India beats up young muslim kids’ the ‘real America showers money on them’.While no Indian beggar has seen a 1000 rupee note because no indian gave it to him he even knows that Benjamin Franclin is on a US 100 $ bill because the Americans give them such tips at the minimum.
    Had Boyle not brought in religion and national one-upmanship I would have loved the film.But he did exactly what I detest and that too everso subtly making it even more dangerous. Nobody would consciously get it but the subconscious imprint would be quite large with the hype that its getting.
    This would prove counterproductive Mr.Boyle.The BJP and Mr.Modi will get more votes because of such a film made by a britisher and celebrated by the west trying to intrude upon anothers religion and nation through sublime cultural weapons.
    We live here and know that neither Ram nor Hindus generally are that bad. The mistakes made by some in Gujrat were apprehended by the whole nation.Atleast you’ve turned one opinion from neutral to defending hindus and ‘real India’ here.
    (Extreme poverty,handicapped beggars and slum-people’s plight have again been used to sell a story with ulterior motives)

  4. harijim says:

    And the Sikhs shown in the train pulling the kids down on a moving train to save one roti.
    In reality the Sikhs in such a situation would have given him two rotis(breads) instead of one and actually stopped the train by pulling the chain to see that he is safe.
    C’mmon Shekhar you’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t get 7 Oscars?Those were the times when people like Rabindranath Tagore would return or turn down Nobel Prizes when they could see the politics behind them.
    Sometimes we just don’t aspire to the West but start licking their most unclean parts. Wouldn’t it be better if we preffered the cleaner parts only while expecting a little Quid pro quo.

  5. justbe says:

    check out this gem of a film – The Warrior(2001)
    starring irrfan khan which was refused the oscar nomination because it was a hindi film and a british production, and incidentally happened to win bafta for best picture the very next year.

  6. harijim says:

    I wish a comedy sequel to Slumdog Millionare is made as below:
    After watching the film the West suddenly has a change of heart and opens up its SWISS BANKS and other unaccountable money in various island banks for the extremely poor of the world.Only those accounts are retained which are claimed in public.
    I would love to see that film get an Oscar, while a million more Jamaals and Latikas dance to the tunes of AR Rahman.

  7. harijim says:

    The film could be named “Swissdog Philanthropist”.

  8. Rudra says:

    Shekhar slumdog,
    What is wrong with you ? I hope you post this.
    and find the time to read what effect thi film is having :
    http://www.musicindiaonline.com/n/i/top_stories/2867/

  9. chstrig says:

    “culturally different to jaded academy viewers”, says it all about why Slumdog is where it is. a mere fad. Why wasn’t ‘Trainspotting’ even nominated? Slumdog is too far away from being the best film. Oscars don’t determine the best. Dancing movies and poverty = India for the west.

  10. Harb says:

    Congratulations, Shekhar…
    Slumdog has reached 4 Oscars as of now…
    and don’t worry about the critics
    there are people who can criticise even God
    to understand God’s Pefection
    you need the vision of God
    to understand an artist’s work
    you need the vision of the artist
    otherwise, of course, you can criticise
    that too must be serving some part of
    the scheme of things
    below are a few lines from me
    dedicated to the mystery of India
    and which actually mesmerizes some westerns
    to explore it even at the cost of
    getting raped and abused
    Jai Ho
    Amazed at the mystery of
    what is there
    beneath their dirty bodies
    beneath their appalling poverty
    beneath the last peel
    of their foul-smelling onion
    that makes India tick
    some daring westerns try to
    explore their dirty bodies
    churn their appalling poverty
    peel their foul-smelling onion
    in books, in movies
    in an effort to solve it
    Rather than feel proud
    of their mystery
    like the sages of the yore
    like Ramana
    whose unyielding, unwavering, unfathomable
    equipose, calmness, stillness
    would make those very westerns
    go red on their faces
    squirm under their shirts
    some rather youthful indians
    who are apparently not in touch
    with their deepest mystery
    and consider themselves
    limited only to their bodies
    their poverty, their onion
    their only “jo deekhta hai”
    and thus ignoring what is
    really their uniqueness
    play at being great patriots
    and condemn them
    Yes, particular incidents
    can be criticized
    even though those too
    must not be taken as
    because of some bad intentions
    on their part
    but because of ignorance of
    the complete knowledge of an alien culture
    but slamming the whole effort
    as some sort of plot
    to downgrade India
    especially with which
    they are now trying to forge
    the best of relationships
    probably drawn by the same mystery
    among other things
    simply betrays nothing but
    their own insecurity
    their own prosecution complex
    Hope I too have the right
    to say what I want to say
    and it will not be taken as
    an other effort on the part of
    a banyon tree
    to supress others from growing
    under him
    if at all
    if one will see calmly
    one can see in it
    a wish to see them grow
    on their own strength
    in their own eyes
    rather than try to grow
    in the eyes of others
    especially those westerns
    Do our godmen, gurus
    go to the west
    to ridicule their soullessness
    or to earn some money?
    really to earn money
    though in the process
    they remind them a bit of their souls
    So why cant in the same way
    the westerns can be considered
    that they come here
    they write books, make movies
    not to ridicule our poverty
    but to earn for themselves
    their lost souls
    no doubt
    reminding us in the process
    that money too needs to be taken care of
    Harb

  11. Harb says:

    And congratulations again Shekhar, for your friend Heath Ledger’s winning the Oscar!
    Meanwhile, Slumdog has reached 7 Oscars
    Cheers to the mystery that is India
    and which has begun to be discovered only now
    May be Rahman’s music will stir the soul of the whole western world to a new high
    May be many will begin to nurse a secret desire that they will be reborn in India
    May be this is the way east and west go on meeting from below through generations…
    I wonder…

  12. Harb says:

    At Yahoo News somebody has given the theme of Slumdog as “bottomless optimism amid adversity.”
    Is it a wonder that I have given its theme as attempt at solving the mystery of India. Doesn’t “bottomless optimism” point towards this very mystery? Where this BOTTOMLESS optimism otherwise comes from?
    Harb

  13. austere says:

    EIGHT.
    EIGHT AMAZING AWARDS.
    Jai ho.
    Congratulations.

  14. Sridhar Iyer says:

    Woah.. SM won 8 awards!!!.. Rahman now the only Indian with 2 Oscar awards.. to hell with what I posted in earlier comments on your earlier posts.. that feat makes my chest swell in pride.

  15. Pankaj Agrawal says:

    Slumdog has won 8 oscars. Great Victory. Rahman and Gulzar are so inspiring. They tell us what makes a great person a genius–humility and love.

  16. AJ says:

    Maha Shiv Ratri
    A night which is glorious for India
    Making everyone associated with India PROUD
    Heath Ledger’s winning the Oscar, a moment full of feeling … Wish he was with us tonight, life has its own play and game …
    SM and the awards, a lot more to look forward for India and India associated growth, feelings …

  17. AJ says:

    A R Rahman, you are the pride for India and deseve all the praise and his love for Mumbai, India, people, his speeches at Oscar night show a lot more …
    I’ve been watching amount of events he has been doing in Hollywood for the past few years …
    Its an inspiration and Shekhar, you are A Hope and wish “PAANI” reaches, we look forward for it …

  18. Rudra says:

    All Proud Slumdogs ,
    Get a grip ,people. The agenda of the Western financial clout and media hype has won once more – taking along the blabbering and confused ‘educated’ Indians.
    We are supposed to be proud that the one movie that was made to define India – and to be a reference point for the West for the next 10 years for continued India bashing .
    It is like the Western Cosmetic Majors making inroads into Indian market by ‘ letting’ Indian women win Miss World and Miss Universe back in the 1990s.
    The effect this movie is having and will have is posted here , READ THIS :
    http://www.musicindiaonline.com/n/i/top_stories/2867/
    Wake up India !

  19. Mieke says:

    Dear Harb,
    I haven´t seen this movie (yet).
    I bow to the depth of your wisdom and the simple truth that arises from it.

  20. Vinita says:

    I liked the way you put across your opinion..very frank. that’s nice, especially when people hesitate to come out boldly with their viewpoints. As far as the movie goes, it’s a fresh thought that hadn’t been exploited hitherto and Danny Boyle has done a careful study of the current Indian scenario. Yet I too wonder if this movie is really Oscar worthy. I really don’t know. But I’m glad our guys made it big, particularly A.R.

  21. Rudra says:

    !! They’ve started calling Indians ‘slumdogs’ !!
    Bollywood composer Aadesh Srivastava says he is embarrassed to walk on the streets of the US after Oscar-nominated ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ because ‘they have started calling Indians slumdogs’.
    ‘I’m so upset. They’ve started calling Indians ‘slumdogs’, just like ‘coolie’ was a ‘slang’ in Britain. Now in the US I feel slumdog is a ‘gaali’ (slang) for Indians. Mumbai has given me everything,’ Srivastava told.
    ‘To see the city being shown as a place of dirt, filth and crime only is very humiliating. Even I can make a film on child prostitution and paedophilia. But it won’t get Oscars because I am not a ‘gora’ (white),’ added the composer.
    Based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q & A’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is about an impoverished teaboy who wins a quiz show. Directed by British director Danny Boyle, the story is set in the slums of Mumbai. While Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto and NRI Dev Patel played main leads, A.R. Rahman composed the music for the movie. It has got 10 Oscar nominations, out of which three are for Rahman.
    The film was lauded in the West, but it has been criticised by some in India for showing its ugly side by concentrating on grinding poverty.
    ‘What right does the director have to show Mumbai as a slum? Now we are considered a slum city in all parts of the world. Humlog kahin mooh dikhane laayak nahin rahe (we’re unable to show our face anywhere),’ said Srivastava, who watched the movie in Los Angeles this week.
    Srivastava applauds fellow composer Rahman’s music in the movie, but says he’d never be part of a film that makes India look like a slum.
    ‘I’m so upset. It’s a disgusting movie. Being an Indian it was doubly humiliating to be watching the film with Americans. Even if Steven Spielberg asked me to compose music for a film that makes fun of India, I won’t do it,’ he said.
    Being a diehard Amitabh Bachchan fan, Srivastava is appalled by the way the Big B is shown in the film.
    ‘I puked when I saw that kid smeared in shit asking for Bachchan saab’s autograph. What the f…k was that? Does Danny Boyle know what Bachchan saab means to us Indians? Who would dare approach him like that?
    ‘We applaud people who come to our city and spit in our faces!’ he said.

  22. Sibin says:

    “It is not a film that was over-hyped, nor the kind of film that would be considered Oscar worthy.”
    Must disagree on BOTH counts. It definitely was over-hyped and nowadays movies that claim to be “different” are getting more Oscar attention that before, no matter how bad they are.

  23. Bidisha Ghosal, THE WEEK says:

    Hey,
    We had met at FICCI and you had asked me to write to you on your blog. So here I am, I would like to have a very short chat with you on A R Rahman and your association with him. Danny Boyle said that he thanks you the most for introducing him to Rahman. I will be extremely grateful if we could chat by tonight as the deadline for my cover on Rahman and the Oscars is Wednesday afternoon.
    Regards
    Bidisha Ghosal
    Film Correspondent
    The Week
    9987561506

  24. Chaitali says:

    make it 8 Oscars

  25. brahmastra says:

    It is so pitiful and funny at the same time to see all these people and media in India with such a low self-esteem. Such is the inferiority complex harnessed by the ego that people will cherish any kind of distorted attention. The actual depth of Indian art is exponentially above the shallow Oscar standards, but even then, the ‘slave-minded’ Indians lose their cool over such petty awards. Rahman was pretty cool though.
    And as someone said above, the movie makers seem to have had some ulterior motives in their display of India, with quite a few sub-conscious injections meant to demean Indians because some scenes were just too crass to have had any good intentions. Danny Boyle is a pretty messed up individual. And someone, please give that confused wannabe Freida Pinto a decent wardrobe for these award ceremonies.

  26. Rudra says:

    It is the narrative.
    The people who control the Academy awards have another agenda – they are pawns of the Multinational Finance companies – they pull the strings.
    Cinema has been used to serve Geo-economic and Geo-Political objectives in the past as well .
    Remember what happened in Kashmir when ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ was released in the valley ?
    The West wants :
    1) Asia to never unite as a singular entity
    2) That India -China- Russia entente never materialise
    3) Keep India bogged down with islamic Terrorists who are funded , aided and supported Covertly by CIA
    4) if possible trigger a periodic war between Asian countries – especially India and Pakistan and Finally and Most Dangerously :
    5) To incite rebellion and mass murder inside India by funding various terror groups and possibly create a Muslim uprising in India and break India – very much like how Pakistan was carved out.
    Are Indians aware of these agendas ? Wake up you Fools !

  27. Slumdog says:

    Hi shekhar,
    Very nice to see the indian hot blood boiling in the net-cafe tea pot.
    Though i came up with an idea for a film. A film on the white man hanging up and down in yogic postures in search for Nirvan, Mukti, and GOD
    The film could be titled “White poodle on the path to Nirvana.”
    The movie can show how the panic strewed captilistic society has lost all peace and is looking to India in search for final Mukti from there own man-made systems.
    a slumdog.

  28. Neeta says:

    A R Rehmans acceptance words for the second Oscar was –
    “All my life I had a choice between love and hate. I chose love and I’m here. God bless”
    It is a timeless message from our great country. I’m proud. Go Rehman!

  29. Mark says:

    I write you because i understand well, that you have a deep and penetrating gaze and vision. SLUMDOG is simply beautiful. It presents reality. Danny Boyle wove the story so beautifully. Of course., a story is a story… Some fancy is inevitable… otherwise it would become a documentary.
    “Had it not been for Ram and Allah, my mother would have been alive today”… what a stunning line. Hats off. (Why is the BJP/RSS so jittery.. cuz its ugly face has been exposed ! Hunh ! More and more of BJP/RSS will be exposed in the days to come.. in English.. French.. Spanish.. Italian.. Mandarin Chinese.. I bet.. RSS is the world’s largest (and oldest thriving) factory of hatred and terrorism. How can we bury our face in the face of this stark reality !). Yes. RSS (thru its political arm BJP) wins elections… but so did Hitler. Winning elections by (dividing society) and for (conducting programs) what ? That is the question.
    Hats off to Danny Boyle… THe shot where the boy emerges from the shit-pool has philosophical meaning(s) and moorings. It implies (to me)., that the beauty of the soul… and drive… obsession… remains pure and uncorrupted… even if the body (that encompasses it)., is dipped in shit ! Phoenix out of the shit… yet pure.. innocent.. full of drive.
    Rahman’s music is incredible.. and beautifully rendered. The Jhappis (tak-tak-taka-tak.. dhinna-taka-tak-tak).. were marvellous in building the tension of the scene. The photography is simply beautiful… the usage of morning yellow (colour).. symbolising hope…
    Simon Beaufoy is the real hero (brains) of this project. His writing… and the beauty of Danny Boyle’s conception… and execution !
    Jai Ho.
    Aaja Aaja JIND (zindagi) Shaami-yaane ke taley
    Aaja Zari-waale Neeley… Aasmaan ke taley..
    Jai Ho… (in Mozart’s “G” Minor… i guess.. am i right ? Correct me if i am wrong !) 😉

  30. Krishna says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have been wondering about the same question; how would an average American Academy member ever get to watch such a huge number of movies to do justice to all of them?
    Thanks so much for that clarification.
    But as awards go, I do suppose it’s difficult to figure a better system. As Indians go, we’re quite notorious for our opacity in creative recognition.
    I am sure that’s tautology for someone like you.
    And yes, there were 8 nods !

  31. Harb says:

    Well said slumdog!
    Provided the hero like Paul Brunton* is finally shown to have realised his soul.
    And we shall give this movie our own equivalents of Oscars whatever they are with the comparable ceremony in Mumbai.
    Both deeper and surface realities will be catered to.
    Hot-headed there will make their ignorant noise and hot-headed here will enjoy their revenge born out of deeper ignorance, while deep diviners from both sides will take pride in their resective unique gifts from God.
    ********
    *Here is an introduction to Paul Brunton from Wiki.
    Paul Brunton (October 21, 1898 – July 27, 1981) was born Raphael Hurst, and later changed his name to Brunton Paul and then Paul Brunton. He was a British philosopher, mystic, traveler, and guru. He left a journalistic career to live among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studied a wide variety of Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. With his entire life dedicated to an inward and spiritual quest, Brunton felt CHARGED with the task of communicating his experiences to others and, as the first person to write accounts of what he learned in the East from a Western perspective, his works had a major influence on the spread of Eastern mysticism to the West. Taking pains to express his thoughts in layperson’s terms, Brunton was able to present what he learned from the Orient and from ancient tradition as a living wisdom. His writings sum up his view that meditation and the inward quest are not exclusively for monks and hermits, but will also support those living normal, active lives in the Western world.” (from Paul Brunton: Essential Readings by Godwin, Cash and Smith)
    *******
    By the way His book “A Search in Secret India” was one of the first few most influenctial books which deeply connected me to Sri Ramana Maharshi.

  32. Harb says:

    And here is Paul Brunton’s experience of finding his soul, of enlghtenment in other words while sitting at the feet of Ramana Maharshi in his own words:
    “I find myself outside the rim of world consciousness. The planet which has so far harboured me disappears. I am in the midst of an ocean of blazing light. The latter, I feel rather than think, is the primeval stuff out of which worlds are created, the first state of matter. It stretches away into untellable infinite space, incredibly alive.”
    Has not the white poodle become the millionaire of the soul!! I dont think he will mind the word white poodle, he will know that he was really one before the Indian showed him that he was actually a white master of soul, of himself. Man jeete jagjit. No further need for him to look towards (jag) others for approval now.

  33. Harb says:

    Really slumdog, such a movie SHOULD BE made. It can be absolutely funny and meaningful at the same time. Moreover it will put both the parties at an even keel lol.
    Hope some enterprising bollywood producer/director like Amol Palekar reads…

  34. brahmastra says:

    Mark,
    The ideology of RSS is too high for low-level folks like yourself. People like you are the actual factory of hatred, terrorism and tremendous misinformation. It has become all to easy for the minorities and pseudo-liberals in India to label anything Hindu as fascist and communal. They do not dare look at their own viral beliefs that have plunged the world into darkness.

  35. raj says:

    Dear Sir,
    I’m just wondering, why aren’t you working on any fresh new story? Its high time from your end. In my opinion you are far far far better than any danny boyle.. I just feel Slum Dog is a hyped movie and did not deserve any awards. I feel even salaam Bombay was much better and it was made long long time ago..Over all Indians should not feel that this movie showed India in a bad light. Infact this movie has opened the doors for other talented stars to look for opportunities abroad if they dont get chance in bollywood. If u check bollywood,you can get a huge break only if you are son/daughter of a big star..People like srk are v few..
    I would love to see you making a fresh film which deals with Indian history..Im not talking about history taught in schools,which is pure lie..
    There is lot to be explored and am afraid someday someone like danny boyle will make it and win an oscar..
    Its a shame there is not even one single movie made in India which has tried to show Indian history.. i.e something to do with Independence,gandhi-Jinnah relationship etc..

  36. raj says:

    One more point I wanted to make
    Why are people acting so stupid? I want to know how many Indian movies are made to praise Westerners? In most of movies they are made fun of..Any time any reference is made to an american or Brit,they are shown in poor light. We always show that they lack culture and ethics..
    Satyajit ray made so many movies which showed poverty in India and I can safely say his movies were very dark compared to what slum dog is..
    In my opinion, Slumdog did not even show the real plight of poor people in India..People in slums are v happy and are used to that kinda life and infact enjoy it..

  37. Hemi says:

    Hi Shekhar Sir,
    Being a British Indian – I am so proud of the fact that a British filmaker had the vision of finally creating such a film. I believe it was long overdue. I have been to Mumbai many times and having seen the two extreme sides – it astonishes me that in recent years, many, if not all Bollywood films portray glamourous and rich lifestyles. I understand that many people in India were outraged towards the film and its content, but in reality, that is what life is like for millions of people in India. It truly deserves all the attention it is getting, and at least people will sit up and notice.
    On a lighter note I just wanted to say how much I regret not speaking with you when I saw you at the restaurant in the JW Mariott, Mumbai last year. Truth be told I didn’t want to disturb you and I was in complete awe, even after you acknowledged me I was still unable to speak. Apologies.
    Hemita
    P.S. Mr India still rocks!!

  38. Hemi says:

    Hi Shekhar Sir,
    Being a British Indian – I am so proud of the fact that a British filmaker had the vision of finally creating such a film. I believe it was long overdue. I have been to Mumbai many times and having seen the two extreme sides – it astonishes me that in recent years, many, if not all Bollywood films portray glamourous and rich lifestyles. I understand that many people in India were outraged towards the film and its content, but in reality, that is what life is like for millions of people in India. It truly deserves all the attention it is getting, and at least people will sit up and notice.
    On a lighter note I just wanted to say how much I regret not speaking with you when I saw you at the restaurant in the JW Mariott, Mumbai last year. Truth be told I didn’t want to disturb you and I was in complete awe, even after you acknowledged me I was still unable to speak. Apologies.
    Hemita
    P.S. Mr India still rocks!!

  39. Rudra says:

    Neeta,
    You seem to be incapable of understanding the subversiveness of Rehman’s statement. For someone like you who wishes to deliberately remain blind , no one can help .
    “All my life I had a choice between love and hate. I chose love and I’m here. God bless” – AR Rehman.
    This statement implies that living in India as a muslim he has always had to make that choice – as depcited in the filthy movie.
    Why should Rehman or any other human have to make that choice ? What are the objects of his hate ? and why did he have to make a forcible choice to choose ‘love’ ? If it is Islam he is referring to – he shpould thank that an 80% Hindu India is giving him a secular choice to become a musician and not be forced into a Madrassa and ban his harami music – afterall music is Haram in Islam.
    For all that high talk , he cheated his own singer who sent Rahman his Passport , instead he , like any other selfish arse , denied the singer of ‘Jai Ho’, Sukhwinder a chance to take part in the Oscars.
    Sukhvinder was distraught and as reported by NDTV he said ” The number nominated in the original song category at the Oscars, is sung by me. That gives me a kick. Sadly, singers of all other numbers will be performing. People are asking me why I am in India now. Main kya bataun? Sab mujhe ullu banake bhaag gaye! It’s depressing to be left all alone to answer such questions,” the singer further said.
    However, the singer insists that Rahman is not to be blamed, and someone must have played foul. He said, “It was up to him to decide who he wanted to take with him. I couldn’t have begged him for a show. And I’m sure Rahman is not the culprit. Someone must have played foul. I’m sure Rahman will explain when he comes back, but I’m not going to ask him anything.”
    It is disgusting that Rehman chose to sell his Mother India for a cheap Oscar award , was cheap enough to take part in a Christian conspiracy to use Muslims against Hindus.
    Danny Boyle had this to say in his dedication :
    “Oh, yeah, I was brought up a very strict Catholic. My mom was a devout Irish Catholic and she wanted me to be a priest, until I was about 13. One of her favorite saints was Our Lady of Fatima. So I was surrounded by it as a kid. My mom has been dead since 1985, but the film’s dedicated to my mom and my dad “.

  40. shekhar says:

    Rudra, please refrain from using words like a ‘selfish arse’ for any one, leave aside one of the great musicians of our time, and one whom almost certainly will be awarded the Bharat Ratna next year. Billions of people all over the world love A R Rahman.
    I do not agree with your rhetoric, but this is an open forum. But I request you to temper it down to make it into a discussion.
    I respect everyone’s views provided there is respect for others, I hope you understand,
    Shekhar

  41. harijim says:

    Besides Rahman is a practising Muslim by choice, not birth.By birth he was a Tamil hindu, he converted to Islam with his sisters in 1989. It would be worth understanding the logic for anybody interested in comparative religion, with humility.

  42. Sidhusaaheb says:

    @Shekhar: Thanks for the de-mystification!
    There definitely was a good deal of media hype around the movie.
    Please accept my apologies in advance for the detour from the subject of the blog-post in the form of the rather long rant that follows! 🙂
    @Rudra: In a country where 4000 innocent Sikhs can be burnt alive/hacked to death/killed in the most brutal manner and the killers go unpunished for 24 years, where 2000 innocent Muslims can be butchered similary and the guilty go unpunished for 6 years, where a large number of Christians can be murdered similarly, in addition to Women being raped before being killed in all such instances and the places of worship of these communities destroyed with impunity and then, to top it all, the political parties seen as responsible for such brutality voted to power (post-violence) on account of such ‘good work’ (e.g. Congress (I) following anti-Sikh riots and BJP following anti-Muslim riots), how difficult do you think it is to choose hate over love for a member of any of these minority communities?
    You wouldn’t know, I suppose, but as a Sikh who has experienced November 1984 and who knows that there never has been and probably never will be any justice done ever, I can tell you that the choice Rahman made is certainly the more difficult one of the two options available.
    BTW, your comment seems to smack of the “You should be grateful we let you live in this country!” mentality that a huge number of members of the majority community seem to have in this country, unfortunately.
    And yes, before you quote terrorism, I’d like to remind you that not only has the death-toll due to any act of terrorism in India never gone beyond a minuscule fraction of the number of people killed in communal riots, but the guilty have actually been tried and convicted also for terrorism, whereas those responsible for communal riots have mostly gone scot-free.
    In light of the above, I suppose it is fair to conclude that you can kill 4000 Sikhs or 2000 Muslims in India or a similar number of Christians without fear of punishment, but kill 200 Hindus and you are in for big trouble. Then, if any one like Rahman dares to speak the truth, a Rudra and millions of others like him/her will have a huge problem with that because the truth makes them feel very uncomfortable.

  43. Rudra says:

    Sidhu @ Your comments are too stupid to respond. You as a sikh should know better – your religion was born as a defence against Islamic haulocaust.
    Hindu haulocaust is a truth and cannot be compared to any other persecution in history.
    Anti-Sikh Sikh riots after Maimoona Khan’s( aka. Indira Gandhi) Murder and Gandhi family (truly Nehru-Khan family) are not reflective of Hindu Samaj. We hold Sikhs in high esteem and infact see no differnece . The concept of Guru worship is endemic to Hinduism , afterall.
    Not only are you statistics wrong , you seem to be sharing the same view point of the Paki dictator Musharraf.
    Now for some education. I reproduce an article.
    Which one is hate and which one is love, Dilip Kumar Mudaliar@A R Rahman?
    S V Badri 25 Feb 2009
    This is not to belittle the genius and success of A R Rahman. This is just to connect his recent statement at the Oscars to his background, and to reveal the unknown face Rahman was so clever as to keep under wraps. This is to bring to surface the second Rahman – one who took to hating his natal religion the moment he took to Islam.
    To the entire world, he is humility personified. He is pious, religious, genius, the very best. So be it.
    His second Oscar acceptance speech gave him away. It allowed us a sneak preview of the core of Rahman:
    “All my life I had a choice of hate or love. I chose love, and I’m here”
    To understand the statement, one must dig into his early life. It shows deeply hidden hatred for Hindus and Hindu Dharma, ever since he converted to Islam. Even I, who had seen him work from very close quarters on two projects in his pre-Roja days, was bowled over by his simplicity and humility. He nurtured this fine art for years to win over many of his producers and the public.
    The early days of A.S. Dilip Kumar
    He was born as A.S. Dilip Kumar to R.K. Sekhar and Kasturi (now Kareena Begum) in a Tamil Mudaliar family, the second of three children. His sisters are Kanchana (Rehana after conversion, which resulted in divorce from her staunch Hindu husband), and Fathima.
    Kanchana’s son, G.V. Prakash, who has shot to fame as a music director having already scored music to many films starting with Veyyil and Rajnikant’s Kuchelan, is also a staunch Hindu like his father. G.V. Prakash was the synthesizer player for Chettinad Vidyashram’s music troupe as a nine-year-old when my son, Aditya Kasyap, then in class XI, was the music club secretary and lead singer.
    R.K. Sekhar (Dilip aka Rehman’s father) was an immensely talented musician, with no real breaks in the film field. He was more a conductor of orchestra for Salil Chowdhary and Devarajan in Malayalam filmdom (Mollywood). Yet his father’s passion for music was so embedded in Dilip’s genes that when he was just four-years-old, he started playing the harmonium. Later he learnt piano under the famous Dhanraj Master. His father gifted him a Synthesizer bought on a trip to Singapore, and this instrument so fascinated young Dilip that it became the source of sounds that would change the Indian film music world later.
    In an interview, he says: “My father passed away when I was 9 years old. My mother used to narrate many tales about my father which used to make me very happy. My father was regarded to be highly knowledgeable in music by many people. I still listen to many of the old songs tuned by him. I think that it’s his enormous knowledge of music that has come down to me by the grace of God.”
    Sekhar died ironically on the day of the release of his first film. Young Dilip had tagged along with his mother, hopping from one hospital to other, including CMC, Vellore, and to Bible-toting pastors and Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani (Pir Qadri), but it was too late…
    He became an atheist. When 11 years old, he joined as keyboard player in Illayaraja’s troupe, struggled hard and slowly made a name with his popular jingles. His loss of faith in God continued through his teens when in 1988 one sister fell seriously ill. Medicines, havans and Bible-reading pastors failed to revive her. The family finally tried the same Pir Qadri, whom they called very late in the case of Sekhar. Dilip’s sister made a miraculous recovery. This was attributed to the Pir and Dilip slowly came under his influence. Gradually, the entire family converted to Islam; Kanchana even accepted divorce as the price of conversion.
    Thus A.S. Dilip Kumar became Allah Rakha Rahman. Today, Rahman says “Islam has given me peace. As Dilip I had an inferiority complex. As A.R. Rahman I feel like I have been born again” [http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrbio.html]
    Asked what prompted him to convert to Islam, he said: “I remember my father suffering. He was taken to eight to nine hospitals, including the CMC hospital in Vellore and the Vijaya hospital in Madras. I saw him suffering physical pain… I remember the Christian priests who would read from the Bible beside his hospital bed… I remember the pujas and the yagnas performed by the pundits… by the time the Muslim pirs came it was too late. He had already left us. After my father passed away, for some years when I was a teenager, I believed there was no God. But there was a feeling of restlessness within me. I realised that there can be no life without a force governing us… without one God. And I found what I was looking for in Islam. I would go with my mother to dargahs. And Pirsaab Karim Mullashah Qadri would advise us. When we shifted to this house, we resolved to stick to the faith.”
    The family’s penchant to check with astrologers did not desert them even after converting to Islam; an astrologer chose Dilip’s Islamic name! He gave him the name Abdul Rahman, but insisted that he should have two initials, so he became Abdul Rahman Rahman. Later, Naushad turned ‘A.R.’ to Allah Rakha, and Dilip Kumar became Allah Rakha Rahman.
    It is reputed that G. Venkateshwaran of GV Films and his brother Mani Ratnam had some misunderstanding with Illayaraja, and that is how Rahman was picked for Roja; the rest is history.
    A Roja becomes a slumdog – Hate vs. Love
    “All my life I had a choice of hate or love. I chose love, and I’m here.”
    Was the Oscar stage was so intoxicating that the truth had to come out? Dilip alias Rahman must explain what ‘hate’ is and what ‘love’ is. Does he mean that Hindu Dharma is ‘hate’ and that is why he deserted it; that Islam is ‘love’ and that is why he embraced it? Could he achieve these musical heights in any of the known Islamic paradises now blooming in the neighbourhood? Above all, is not this music itself the gift of Hindu Bharat?
    A colleague and Rahman apologist mumbled that the musical wonder actually meant ‘Wahabi Islam’ when he spoke about ‘hate,’ and that ‘love’ referred to Sufi Islam – I am too old for such stories. If that is indeed what Rahman meant, then that is what he should have said – that too at a moment when he had the whole world’s attention, and adulation.
    Tail Piece
    It is pertinent to recall that in the immediate aftermath of Partition, the Peshawar-born and immensely talented Yusuf Khan took the film name Dilip Kumar to deflect possible non-acceptance by a Hindu audience. In the same era, however, Waheeda Rahman boldly stuck to her maiden name, and proved that Hindu Bharat was above petty prejudice and openly nurtured talent.
    Certainly Dilip-Rahman deserves his success. But I am disappointed with his ‘hate’ versus ‘love’ acceptance speech. This was actually the moment for him to say Vande Mataram.

  44. harijim says:

    Hey Rudra,on positive perception Rehmaan’s statement could also be taken as directed towards other Muslims in a way pleading them to choose love,peace and Akbar’s Rah-e-akal over war,hate and terror.
    On even greater lattitude his statement could simply be taken as what it was- a simple choice of unconditioned love over hate by a human.
    I passed through a time in my life with a certain rigidity of the world view,but then I found the world is evolving with every word, every breath.I felt that everybody was imprisoned with his/her own history and even while wanting to was not able to simply get out of its shackles.Then I found a solution altering my own consciousness to the new world I want to live in.And it worked.My world actually started changing.
    Rudra the kind of energy and intensity you have could be used to find unity in diversity of world regions and religions and help making the world more understandable rather than playing partisan roles.I was born in a Sikh family but I very clearly understand the importance of Hinduism,Islam and Sikhism and even Christianity in their own times.
    Ultimately theres just One God.And in this grand Universe, we live in our small home called Earth.And this God/Universe almost unfailingly answers to our heart-felt prayers.
    ***
    And Sidhu,I too was born in a Sikh family right at the border with my maternals crossing over to India in Partition. But I don’t see, why this lingering hate. We’ve had a Sikh at the helm for a long time now and even before that he almost single handedly fathered the great Indian economic reforms.A Sikh’s writ has been running in this country for almost two decades now.And we’ve had a sikh General,a sikh CBI director in this time.Today there was a news that Punjab DGP is being looked at for the top post at NSG.
    Guys, the world is not perfect we have to make it so. And probably the most useful tool for that is tolerance of the others view and accepting the possibility that ones own view might need to evolve with times.The required change is almost always equally required on both ends.

  45. Ritu says:

    I cannot believe so much politics and religion could be read into a simple statement of choosing love over hate.
    Here is my interpretation of Rahman’s statement. The positive and negative forces both exist within a human being. At any given moment a human being with some kind of control over the self has a choice, you go with the positive or you fall to the negative. And for people who are positive, who choose positive thoughts and actions, who chose love over negative emotions like hate reach places. It boils down to fighting one’s internal demons.
    I couldn’t imagine anyone having problems with a personality as humble and self-effacing as ARR, but then stupid me, he is a muslim, he has to be bashed right?
    God bless our country!

  46. Ritu says:

    While on the topic of Oscars and SM I agree with the school of thought, that winning an Oscar does not guarantee a superior film. That is pretty much the case all over the world in today’s date. A Filmfare award in India panders to the same mediocrity. Gone are the days when ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ or ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ would get an award. Today they shall get barely muster a mention.
    SM is a film that is very flavour-of-the-season. Enjoyable and interesting watching. But it ends there. But then Titanic could get an award, then why not SM?
    Also I would like to say that while the widespread recognition to AR Rahman and Gulzar Saab (why doesn’t anyone including Shekhar speak about him?) makes me very proud, I still think Slumdog Millioniare is quite a disappointing score. It is not something that would have counted in the ARR Golden Collection had it not won an Oscar. But Shekhar is right, the West does not have the sensibility to appreciate the real depth of our music. (Would Pandit Ravi Shankar ever have commanded the hysteria he did if it was not for George Harrison?)
    And at the end of the day when the history of Indian Film Music is written Rahman will still come way below masters like SD Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Naushad, Anil Biswas, Shankar Jaikishen,. The sheer fineness of melody, rhythm and the nuances that these masters produced are probably lost with their generation. The truth is that ARR’s melody is probably the most superior in the current generation, yet very limited when compared to the list above. But then melody has long since become a slave to rhythm!

  47. brahmastra says:

    It is ridiculous to see Sikhs trying so hard to distinguish themselves from the Hindus. Weren’t they all originally Hindus? I think it is time for them to take off their separate identities and merge with the mainstream Hindus towards a stronger, united Hindu nation in India.

  48. kedar says:

    Rudra…
    there is another angle to this…
    i saw an interview on Raheman on IBN…a long interview…
    he said when his father passed away the whole family had to go through a lot of hardship…financial struggle…during those days he had to face many abuses,hate, demeaning gestures from others…bu he kept working…
    religious faith came in much later the reason being Sister’s health…
    but when he says he had a choice between love and hate it must be about those who demeaned him because of his financial condition…abused him because of it…
    so either hindu or muslim he always had a choice whether to keep hating these low life creatures or choose love i.e. music and keep working day and night… he chose to work…to work harder than any one else… he also said kids of his age were interested in partying and boozing but he as a kid was never interested in such things…this way he chose Love…
    thats another angle of it…it need not be religious all the time…

  49. Rudra says:

    @ Ritu : There is no ‘bashing’ involved in seeing the subversiveness of Mr.Allah Rakha Rehman’s Oscar statement . And neither is he being ‘targeted’ because he is ‘Muslim’ ! This is typical Secular Tourette’s syndrome which so-called ‘educated’ indians like you suffer from.
    You should be more worried about the ‘India Bashing’ narrative of Slumdog Millionare.
    Many Children of the soil have taken exception to Slumdog Millionare’s motives and obviously the statements and actions of the accomplices in this ‘India bashing’ venture have been questioned.
    Dont tell me , that just becuase someone is a Muslim , they are exempt from being questioned !
    @ kedar : I would not talk of religion , but for the fact that Slumdog Millionare doesn’t bat an eyelid about subverting Indian Secularism and Hindism in particular. What goes around comes around.
    The fact is the film and the crew have taken part in subtle Psy war on Hinduism and people like me and the silent majority are NOT amused !
    @ Sidhu : Is it selective Amnesia , or is it selective hatred that you did not mention Hindu haulocaust in India ? OR how it is tied to the creation of Sikhism ? From pre-partition riots targeting Hindus ( Jinnah’s Direct Action Day ), to Targeting of Hindus by Sikh troops loyal to the British Crown during and after the 1857 war of independence ? Or the more recent Ethnic Cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits – who are refugees in their own country ? Or the Direct shooting by Tibeten Border Police on Peaceful Karsevaks in 1991 in Ayodhya ? Or the many countless riots instigated by rabid hate filled Mullahs ? Or even the Hindu ethnic cleansing by NSCN Christian gangs
    in the North East , where even wearing a ‘Bindi’ is banned by these Vigilantyes backed by the Church ?…the list is Endless..
    There is no hate in presenting these facts. Truth has to be seen and recognised before we work out Solutions.

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