Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slumdog's Oscar moments

I woke up at 4.15 in the morning coz i did not want to lose any chance of watching red carpet ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Of course, I was going to watch this thing from my home TV but what was unique about this year was the fact that Slumdog Millionaire was considered to be a hot shot in terms of odds and there was very little doubt that it would be spurned to stand overlooked. But then, one can argue that the Academy has always proved to be a party pooper when it came to general mass hysteria. The Academy was audacious enough to avoid Martin Scorsese for a long, long time until the game of hide n seek couldn’t be left to reason and at the same time it was foolish enough to let The Shawshank Redemption go empty handed. If the Academy was right and sagacious in its way of dealing then the same could have been wanted out of every movie that’s made around the world, but that isn’t the case and so we can forgive The Academy for overriding over Orson Welles and David Lynch’s The Elephant Man.

But that was legacy, legend and lores of Oscar’s magnificent history. Today it was a magical tale for a movie called Slumdog Millionaire. Every single thing that followed once Hugh Jackman took the stage and made excellent parody of all movies nominated for Best Picture to the last moment when Slumdog Millionaire was handed the Best Picture statuette, every single thing was seductively celestial. There was hardly any slip-ups or accidents on stage. Even Frieda Pinto was elegant and sharp when she came hand in hand with Liam Neeson to hand away the Oscar award for Best Foreign Film. She didn’t miss a beat while announcing the nominated movies.

Slumdog was nominated in 10 categories and luckily scrapped 8 while pundits were betting on it to make it 10 on 10. Yet the achievement was nonetheless exceptional taking into account numerous liabilities such as inadequate finance, lack of star cast, no set up or state-of-art studio… still with the help of a strong script and talented kids from around the street and some remarkable performance delivered by big time actors like Anil Kapoor and Irfan Khan, the movie found its path.

Without its music, no one would have found that chord connect with the movie but thanks to AR Rahman’s magical resonance and montage of songs put in small bits but in proper place, the movie finds its tempo. And thankfully, the Academy didn’t mess up this time as Peter Gabriel wasn’t willing to perform with AR Rahman as he didn’t like his song being cut to 65 seconds in order to accommodate the tight schedule. But Gabriel or no Gabriel, the show went on with full fervor and the Indian Dhols and Bharat Natyam exponents took to stage along with AR and did a show unforgettable for a long time to come.

There was something purely mystical about the way AR carries himself. There have been moments when I’ve felt God’s sanctity in AR’s songs and music and no wonder, i sometimes feel the touch of his halo when i see him walk up the stage with a modest drooping shoulder and collect some words to thank people who really mean close to him. And he didn’t change that thing about himself even at the Oscars. He thanked his team at Mumbai and Chennai like he often does. He also mentioned his mother. He didn’t forget to thank the ALmighty for everyone knows that Rahman is a pious sufism-inclined musician who happen to follow music as a search of life. Even Resul was fabulously calm when he uttered his reason of belief in the sound of Om. The whole speech was beautifully executed.

I followed this year’s Oscars and wish to congratulate Slumdog Millionaire on its historic victory at Oscars.This ‘curio’ was sweetened by the fact that AR Rahman, Resul Pookutty and Gulzarsaab were honored with befitting awards, thus making the event “Indian” in celebration. The whole movie’s cast, particularly the kids who acted in it, were present on the stage when the movie was handed the Best Picture award and that i believe is one of the most defining moments at Oscars this time. The Indian feel of this year’s Oscars can’t be denied, be it AR Rahman and Resul Pookutty’s inspiring acceptance speeches, Smile Pinki (a story based on an Indian girl) winning an Oscar for Short Subject Documentary or AR Rahman’s lively performance with Dhol and Bharat Natyam dancers moving to his tune on stage. The scene was something completely new to Oscars and a path-breaker in the cultural context.

Slumdog Millionaire is a movie made with talented but obscure Indian cast, directed by a British director and produced by an American production but still managed to garner such extraordinary success, support and recognition. However it failed to strike a chord with the common Indian masses and that part of the debate could get intriguing and argumentative at best. .All and all, this movie will be seen as a bridge to fill the gap between Indian and Western Cinema in the years to come and will create more cross-overs with bigger plots and better visibility factor. Well done, Slumdog. Jai Ho!

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