India woke up on Friday to news of “Slumdog Millionaire” bagging 10 Academy Award nominations as the media toasted the success of a critically acclaimed film the country claims as its own.
The rags-to-riches story about a boy from one of the Mumbai’s teeming slums competing on a TV game show has been nominated for best director, best adapted screenplay and best picture at the Academy Awards, and in seven other categories.
“Rah Rah Rahman” screamed a front-page headline in the Times of India newspaper, a leading English-language daily, referring to the three Oscar nominations for the film’s Indian music composer, A.R. Rahman.
Hindustan Times, another English daily, dubbed it the “Perfect 10.”
The cast and crew of “Slumdog,” in Mumbai for the film’s Indian premiere on Thursday, seemed overwhelmed by the attention.
“It’s incredible isn’t it? For us to be here, premiering the film on the night of the Oscar nominations is just incredible,” producer Christian Colson told Reuters, shouting to be heard above the sound of traditional Indian drums and members of the cast dancing on the red carpet.
“It’s destiny, which is what our film is about,” Colson said.
“Slumdog Millionaire” has already won four honors at the Golden Globes this month including best drama, and been nominated for 11 BAFTA awards.
But for a country that has rarely tasted Oscar glory, 10 Academy Award nominations are a special treat.
Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray was awarded a special Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1992 while Bhanu Athaiya won for best costume design in the 1982 film “Gandhi.”
“India’s arrival at the mecca of film awards was nothing short of spectacular. The bonanza also belatedly made up for years of lack lustre performance in this most coveted cinema competition,” the Times of India said..
Though directed by British filmmaker Danny Boyle, the film has a mostly Indian cast and apart from Rahman’s three nominations, Resul Pookutty also got the nod for best sound mixing.
Hours after the announcement of three Oscar nominations one for Original Score and two for Best Songs, ‘Jai ho’ and ‘O Saya’, the usually reticent AR Rahman sounds more excited than he ever
A jubilant Rahman said, “What can I say? It’s a dream-come-true not so much for me as much as my wife. She’d wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘I want you to win an Oscar’. And I’d just smile. Today, my wife’s dream seems a possibility.” “But, I don’t want to get too hopeful. At the moment, let’s just rejoice that my work has been
nominated for the Oscars. I’m happy not just for myself but also for Gulzar saab who has been nominated for the lyrics of ‘Jai ho’.” said Rahman.
Rahman tries hard to contain his excitement. During the nomination he was at home in Chennai. He said, “My wife and my children jumped with joy when they heard the announcement. My mother is also here with me. It’s her prayers, support and upbringing that’s bearing fruit now.”
Rahman was supposed to be in Mumbai for the premiere of the Slumdog Millionaire’s Hindi version Slumdog Crorepati on Thursday when news of the Oscar nominations came in. “I couldn’t attend
the premiere in Mumbai because I had some work in Chennai. It happened for the best otherwise I wouldn’t be here with my family to share this moment,” added Rahman.
Rahman says he wasn’t too sure of the Oscar nominations even after he won the Golden Globe. “I know the Golden Globes are precursors to the Oscars. But honestly, it sometimes works in reverse. For instance, Bruce Springsteen won the Golden Globe but he hasn’t got an Oscar
nomination. Thank God, it went the right way for me,” said a relieved Rahman.
Now, Rahman is preparing to leave for the Oscar ceremony. “The ceremony is on February 22. But I’ve other business to attend to so I’ll be leaving for LA very shortly. And yes, my wife will accompany me to the Oscars. How can she not? She dreamt this dream for me,” said Rahman.
An exhilarated Rahman said, “It’s a moment of pride not just for me. India has done it. Pray that I bring home the Oscar.” We certainly hope so!