Before beginning this piece, your author would like to convey that he has nothing against patriotism and nothing more against showing the world, the hard realities of Mumbai's slums. The author, as an Indian, is proud of Rahman and Pookutty but his opinions here are purely in the view of cinema as an art form and awards as unbiased, impartial appreciation to all the hard work put in.
What is so good about Slumdog Millionaire that it is a better movie than either of Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or The Reader? And considering the fact that the other four movies have been talked about for a purely cinematic reason, is Slumdog Millionaire a winner purely because of its merit? And why are all of us Indians so ecstatic about its win when the major part of the crew is non-Indian and when co-director Loveleen Tandan was neither mentioned in the nominees list nor in Danny Boyle's acknowledgement list?
Slumdog Millionaire was nominated in 9 categories, Best Picture, Directing, Music(Song), Music(Score), Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay and Sound Editing, of which it won in 8 categories. Many critics view that it was worth an Oscar only in the categories of Screenplay, Film Editing and Music(Score). So, how is it that it won so many awards? Many of the people who have seen the film believe that Danny Boyle's Trainspotting is a much, much better work, AR Rahman's 'Jai Ho' pales infront of many of his other masterpieces and that how can a film with none of its shots ranging more than a few seconds, could have been nominated for the Oscars in the Cinematography category in the first place?
Well, the plain fact is that this year, the Oscars were not about just films. All of the other four nominees in the Best Picture category were better films than Slumdog Millionaire and the harder truth is that people's feeling are being exploited. In a country where people wake up at 5.00 in the morning just to watch the Oscar ceremony live, this year's Oscar Committee has played a trick to commercially utilise Indians' passion for cinema and their reverence for the Oscars.
Forget Oscars, Slumdog Millionaire, in the first place, is a poorly directed movie. A person who has been short-circuited wakes up the next day unscathed, where the host of a live television program humiliates his contestant as the Chai-wallah and then dances away to glory, and where kids who speak hindi, suddenly fall off a train and converse in impeccable English. And the worst part is yet to come. The only bearable part of the movie is the part with the little kids and it was scripted, cast and directed by Loveleen Tandan, who wasn't even mentioned. To all you so-called patriots, isn't that an insult when a British takes credit for the brilliance of an Indian. But we aren't bothered about it are we? We are busy patting our backs for the not-an-Indian crew, where the protagonist is a British citizen and for the commercialization of human emotions.
Your author would like to clear it that he is not bothered with the showcase of Indian slums. Because that is what the hard truth is and the life in those slums defines perfectly what India is- hope, loyalty, forgiveness and diversity. That doesn't mean we should be proud of it and pseudo-name it "True Colours of India". India needs to outgrow its Oscar mania and not be overjoyed with something as trivial as awards when much more pressing matters are at hand, and many of them we should be proud of.
This year's Oscars will remain as a blotch in Cinema history, where Art was neglected and where money was put before appreciation. The Oscar Committee should be ashamed for letting itself be manipulated by the not-so-cinematic factors and this goes to prove that we cannot judge a film by its Oscars anymore.