Four Golden Globes – the best picture, director, screenplay and music score. Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire has drawn global attention to Mumbai slums and their grim reality, as depicted by an orphan boy struggling to make it in life. A Kaun-banega-carorpati type TV show gives him that chance to make it. And the millionaire slumboy, reunited with his girl, walks into the sunset to the music set by the Golden Globe winner A R Rahman. Slumdog (haven’t seen it yet), they say, is Oscar-class movie with a Bollywood ending.
At the award-presentation ceremony telecast the world over from Los Angeles Bollywood presence was perceptible. Shah Rukh Khan got a chance to lead Slumdog’s female interest - Freida Pinto - to the centre stage and introduce her to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, sponsors of the Golden Globe awards, and an audience comprising virtually a ’who’s who’ of the US movie and televison.
Bollywood’s Anil kapoor was seen springing out of his chair on hearing actor-presenter Tom Cruise announce the best picture award for Slumdog Millionaire.
Simon Beaufoy was the first of the four Slumdog winners to be called on to the stage to accept his Golden Globe for making a screenplay out of Vikas Swarup’s novel - ‘Q and A’ . A Bollywood director Mahesh Manjrekar is quoted in The Hindu as saying that it was ironical no desi production house (Chopra, Johar, Screwwalla, are you reading?) took up this subject. “I wanted to do it but by then the rights were sold,” says Mahesh to The Hindu’s Ziya Us Salam. Irony was Manjrekar wound up playing gangster Javed in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog.
The director (centre), with the producer and the female lead, making a thank-you speech. And the film-maker brought on to the stage rest of his Slumdog gang, represented at the award-presentation ceremony.
The Slumdog theme and the acclaim the movie has received reminds me of Satyajit Ray’s Pathar Panchali. Both films dwell on poverty. Pathar Panchali made waves gobally in the 50s , but was no box-office hit in India. And he film came in for flak from many in mainstream cinema in Bombay. A leading actress of her times and MP, Nargis Dutt, had taken a swipe at Satyajit Ray for glorifying India’s poverty.