22 February 2009 ~ 0 Comments

SlumDog Millionaire – Those Foreign Aliens Are Taking Our Oscars Too!

“It felt like an Indian movie awards function”
-Anil Kapoor, Indian actor

Jai Ho to Slumdog Millionaire! And Smile Pinky!

My Dad doesn’t do Oscar night. He says it is for the elitist, rich, snobby white people. But tonight he was pleasantly surprised.

A horde of Indian invaders and their British allies on tourist visas took home the coveted and prized Oscars as the world watched. One in particular, A R Rahman, dazzled and charmed everyone with his musical genius while also speaking sentences in Tamil. This is America, English-only!!

Obviously the title is a dig at nativists and xenophobes alike who are probably outraged at all the non-English singing and dancing at the Oscars, as well as the foreigners (brown people especially) getting awards. And they may not even be taxed!!

It totally deserved it! It’s like the little film that could…YAY!
– Lucy Ogbu

The Oscars are the ‘ultimate’ in terms of awards, and while that is as North-Atlantic-hegemony centric as it gets, when small movies like SlumDog Millionaire break into the big leagues, it is in a small way, counter-hegemonic for the entertainment world. It is a reply to Hollywood’s long rejection of Bollywood ‘musicals,’ as everyone seems to be dancing to Jai Ho.

Sure, it took a British director to make a movie on an ‘Indian subject’ to get Oscars for Indian technicians who have been doing superior work for decades (i.e. Gulzar, A R Rahman, Pookutty). Slumdog Millionaire is nowhere near the A-list of Bollywood movies given it’s simple tried-and-tested theme of love over money. And this isn’t A R Rahman or Gulzaar’s best work. At the same time, it is heartening to see these musical greats finally getting international recognition for what is ultimately an Indian movie. However, THAT should not be a marker for success. AR Rahman doesn’t need Hollywood; Hollywood needs him.

Real change would mean not leveraging the credibility of a movie or work of art on North Atlantic-centric, corporate award ceremonies. Why are the Oscars more noteworthy than the Filmfare Awards that are held by the biggest movie industry in the world?

Congratulations nonetheless, to Slumdog Millionaire and to every Indian that considers this their movie.

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