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. harijim says:

    Hey Brahmastra,
    Weren’t we all humans originally evolved from chimpanzees in Africa.So exactly as you said, its funny to see a few hindus trying hard at seperation from humans in general and forgetting who we originally are.
    But if of religions we must talk here’s my take:
    Sikhism is absolutely a seperate religion which evolved from the confluence of Hinduism and Islam. This religion gave importance to just one God in the name of “Akal Purukh”(the eternal One) to remove the confusion of a plethora of Gods in the hindu religion.When the sub-continent was badly invaded again and again for centuries altogether there was so much confusion that no two hindu sects agreed on which god should be prayed to.
    Yes the Sanatan philosophy is deep and colourful.I am at home with all Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagvatam, all major purans and collect all hindu,infact every religion’s, TV serials and films to understand all their aspects as our collective human heritage.I am almost equally at home with cutting-edge science and literature and somehow see them all as complementary simply as they say”not a leave moves without His will”.
    But the brahmin monopoly on knowledge had made the general hindu society of those times so weak that it was invaded and plundered again and again by later religions which had removed such confusion by agreeing to just one God and making divine knowledge available to anyone who was a seeker.Where these two religions(Hinduism and Islam) met in Punjab area people like Nanak and Kabir saw virtues in both of them.Nanak founded this new religion with a hindu Bala and a muslim Mardana by his side.He retained the relevant parts of them and left out the obsolete-this came to be known as Sikhism(The ever learner’s religion). This helped them concentrate on things to be done at hand after breifly praying to that One God everyday.
    If today any importance is really given to any kind of hinduism world-wide that is the hinduism of Mahatma Gandhi which is casteless,non-violent,law-abiding and most importantly humble.And yes he professed karma yoga although Gita gives equal importance to Samkhya yoga.
    I’m not saying we should abort our defense system as per the above paragraph but while being able to defend against any power we should still aspire to Gandhi’s vision for the future worlds.Thats the only way forward.The more we re-glorify and revive puritan ancient religions more will the world be at odds with us.
    In other words “Be INVINCIBLY STRONG as a nation but RESILIENTLY PEACEFUL”.The real joy is only if others respect us because of our virtues and strengths rather than we blowing our own trumpets.

  2. Mee says:

    @Kedar – Well said!

  3. He chose Love and not Hate. – Focus on the universality of his choice. Does it matter if Islam was his means of recognising Love in life?
    Divinity is your connection with the One and is the source of all creativity. Can you not see the proof of it in his work and conduct?
    Watch where the attention of your being is focussed on? You will only see what your attention is engaged to recognise?You choose your reality. If you seek hatred and diviseness, your attention will go fetch you more of it.Rahman chose to keep his attention on Love, so he says,he’s given a lot of it through his work and got a lot back.
    – Where is your attention focussed?
    Some of the diatribe here is unbelievable.

  4. Harb says:

    Well said kedar and Deepak! Beautiful!
    Brahamastra, weren’t all Hindus originally just human beings. Then why not just become Human beings and strengthen the oneness of all humanity rather than being Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims etc. Why learned people like you should not set an example?

  5. Sidhusaaheb says:

    @All those who have responded to my comment, kindly or otherwise:
    I have a few questions for all of you.
    How many have been brought to justice so far, for killing 4000 Sikhs in 1984?
    How many of the killers are in jail and how many have been hanged?

  6. brahmastra says:

    Harb,
    I am in a state between human and divine nothingness, slowly crossing over. I had to resort to esoteric Hindu teachings to get here. So, I am setting a tremendoulsy powerful example for the folks here if they have the openness and the good fortune to receive it.
    If you have the ability to look deeper into my posts, you may see that oneness (on a collective level in India for starters) can come only at the cost of the rebirth of the original Vedic way of life and dissolving the darkness of pseudo-liberal ideals. Most commoners who are stuck in duality are not capable of having such kind of a vision, and hence democracy itself is a failure in India. The machinery in India is so corrupted that it probably needs a strong benevolent monarchy to resolve.

  7. Harb says:

    Brahamastra, the need for you now is to throw even the esoteric Hindu teachings and vedas to reach the divine nothingness…there you can go only with nothing attached to the soul.
    Oneness is not to come, it is already there, it is not there only in your vision because it is yet not there within you.

  8. brahmastra says:

    Harb,
    This might not be about me. My perspective is at a level comfortably higher than most here and in this world, and i am not as much of a practising Hindu as may be projected here. Do not forget that a jnani has no code of conduct, and oneness at a personal level can be different from the objectivity in bringing it about at a social level. In your mode of oneness, why do you feel offended when i recommend that the Sikhs unite back into the ocean? I think India needs to do away with a lot of its divisive tradition and dogma and establish a singular belief system of oneness. Nothing can accomplish this better than the esoteric wisdom of Self-realization while doing away with the thousand external man-made Gods.

  9. India is a different king of land with a unique kind of vision. Danny boyl is heartfull and sympethetic person. But his whole approach and vison is western. His mind must be dominated by the christion charity – help and serve the poor. Their are poor and their are we and their is a serving. Is the poors are mens to fell ourselves great. Their are poor and thier are serving and still their is a mesery.
    Certaily the outside progress is needed. But how it come and actualised and how everyone become a beneficiery of it. Or is their are people who born to suffer and their are people who born to enjoy.

  10. B S Kumar says:

    In the hysteria around the Oscars, let’s not forget two things – Rahman is by no means India’s best music composer, and this is not his best work! Still worth celebrating, but let us not mistake white man’s recognition for any true, objective acknowledgement of any kind of genius in Rahman. He is an arranger, not a prolific composer like Ilayaraja or RD Burman. Period.

  11. Dr. Nisheeth Kumar says:

    Dear Shekhar Sir,
    my take on Slumdog Millionaire as i put it then.
    Countless words have been spent dissecting the most TOASTED and HATED movie of the season “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE”. The movie that romped home with 8 OSCARS, 4 GOLDEN GLOBE, 7 BAFTAS and a host of other international awards and yet derided in India by a few people with variety of brickbats ranging from being an outrageously hyped good movie to the run of the mill fare to being a downrightly bad and boring movie. Interestingly the detractors decrying the hoopla themselves generously devoted too much time and energy to retain their side on the debate that they actually contributed to increase the charm and mysticism of the movie. LOVE ME, HATE ME, BUT DO NOT IGNORE ME mantra was well served in this case and if I were in SM producer’s shoes I would be happy that it got more people in theatres to see the merits of movie by themselves.
    I think it is a brilliant movie. For one it is very engaging right from the start to the end. I wonder if some people found this boring how do they sit through a lot of our Hindi Films. We make some really good movies but are outdone in volume by no. of sluggishly paced films. Then the ensemble Starcast has performed very well. The performances of CHILDREN are mind blowing and defy description. Kudos to DANNY & LOVLEEN for extracting such performances from them.The leads DEV and FREIDA have given such natural performances it is difficult to envisage it is their debut film. IRRFAN is perhaps our most respected export to the international cinema along with Om Puri and he delivers effortlessly. Anil’s performance is the real trump card as he combined his TALENT with his experience of all these years of varied acting to create magic on screen. He has neither looked so charming nor so menacing ever as here before. Another important aspect is beauty of adaptation of novel into the screenplay. Vikas Swarup had written a very good novel and I had read it soon after it hit the stands. I think one should read it once to appreciate the true ability of SIMON BEAUFOY as he made just the perfect changes to make an interesting book filmable and how. Awesome stuff. I dont need to discuss RAHMAN’S music. We all in India know what a marvelous composer he is. I would say that the biggest gift that DANNY gave to Hollywood even greater than the film itself was SHOWCASING the genius of A R RAHMAN to them. And the Hollywood gratefully acknowledged the master by bestowing him with 2 OSCARS. Of Course he should have got it many moons ago but in west they were to their loss ignorant of the great man. Resul also got his place under the sun and It is surely going to benefit the Indian Film Industry a lot that it was a medium for recognition of our actors and technicians. Indeed it is a memory etched for lifetime of the entire Indian cast and crew on the OSCAR CENTERSTAGE receiving the BEST PICTURE OSCAR. Last but not the least I would like to hail DANNY BOYLE the chief creator of the project who rose far above his previous masterpiece TRAINSPOTTING to put it all through to make the most significant movie of his career and sharing its extraordinary fate.
    A Movie almost relegated to go directly to DVD with no takers had DESTINY on its side. Like the theme of the movie all the hype and rewards were DESTINED TO BE. THE MOVIE HAD FAR MANY MERITS TO BE IGNORED. It was lapped up and praised by all and sundry in Hollywood. People whose work we adore Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise ,Meryl Streep etc were all seen and heard praising the movie during various telecasts around the Oscars. So when these Masters of cinema think so highly o the film should we not step down from our Mr. Know-all condescending attitude and enjoy the film for its pure cinematic pleasure because that is what it is : a breathtakingly beautiful piece of art and a worthy recipient of all the awards and moolah {world wide gross nearly $400m }. Truly by far the BEST FILM of the year.

Leave a Reply