The story of a winner

Jan 26th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Films & Entertainment

The crew of “Slumdog Millionaire” won’t let bothersome questions prick their balloon

The cast of “Slumdog Millionaire”. photo: R.V. MOORTHY

Rana Siddiqui Zaman

With four Golden Globe Awards and 10 Oscar nominations on its side, Slumdog Millionaire, an Indian story, has already reached 80 towns across the country with 400 prints. Its cast and crew were present in New Delhi’s Taj Ma hal hotel this past week to share their own reasons of ‘agreeing’ to do this film now creating ripples across the entertainment world. The local media hurled at them a host of pertinent questions, like why Danny Boyle, the film’s director, decided to project India’s poverty on an international platform, why ‘thinking’ actors like Irrfan Khan and Anil Kapoor didn’t mind the title ‘slumdog’ for an Indian character, and, is the film getting awards internationally because it is directed by a Briton. Responded Boyle, “I come from the realistic school of filmmaking. As a Briton , that is my tradition. So when I was told that my character can be found in a slum, I went there. In Britain, we have lost that element of fantasy in our films. I wanted to bring that back. So I made it a love story with Mumbai as its star. It’s a fairytale against a real backdrop.” Producer C. Collins chipped in, “It was not my intention to ‘insult’ the people here. It is the spirit in the face of adversity, that’s what the tale is all about.”
Anil Kapoor seemed rather offended on being asked why it was not called a slum boy but a slum dog. “I identified with Dev Patel’s character because I have come from the slums. Mine too is a rags-to-riches story. A slum boy is referred to as ‘naali ka keeda’. Dilip Kumar used it for me in my film. It’s a reference, a metaphor. So, don’t feel offended by it,” he stated. Yet another Indian actor of the film, Irrfan Khan echoed the opinion, “This film is giving us an opportunity to be on the international platform only because of its realistic backdrop. We can’t catch global audiences with masala films. Rahman has reached the foreign audiences’ drawing room with the ‘Jai Ho’ song now.”
Dev Patel, who played the film’s young protagonist, made a rather tense situation lighter by saying that when he saw “white faces with green eyes” during the audition, he was sure he wouldn’t be taken. “I have seen slum boys. They have the brightest teeth and the highest hopes. Jamal is one of them.” The actress Frida Pinto shared with the media that she auditioned for six months for it and didn’t mind a small role. “I am present there throughout, through Jamal’s search,” she concluded, smiling.

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