It is written. No?

Following Manchus comment here, I couldn’t help but pen down my thoughts on the ceremony yesterday. It was probably the first time I have paid the Academy Awards this much attention. There are snatches from previous ceremonies like when Halle Berry won that are etched in my mind. For some strange reason I even remember the detail on the dress she was wearing then.

So, yesterday I settled in front of the TV around 5:30 PM my time till about 11:30 or so when it was all over. Yes. It was predictable. Yes. I was somewhat embarrassed by the pink choli wearing dancers performing to the music from Wall-E in between O Saya and Jai Ho. It felt garish and out of place for me. Like GreatBong explains here so well, I did not think the movie was Oscar worthy.

Yet, amongst all this, I cheered each time I saw a brown face in the crowd. I was excited to see the whole crew of Slumdog walk the red carpet. I felt deeply offended by Ryan Seacrest holding up a slip of paper with the names of the kids’ on them. I used to feel a mild dislike for him till yesterday. Now I positively hate him. I felt it was insensitive, snobbish and utterly unprofessional.Β 

Every time I took a break, I would tell Amma to call me if it was Resul or Rahman’s nomination being announced. In spite of that I did miss Resul’s acceptance speech because K chose that moment to call me. But I got to see every bit of ARR’s presence at the Oscars and it felt wonderful. For someone who grew up listening to his music I remember how much of a path breaking thing it was when Roja released. My favorite metaphor for something growing on me over time is ARR’s music. It has that kind of an impact. So watching him give a shout out to his mom or Mumbai thrilled me. I was hoping he would say something in Tamil and I had goosebumps when he was done.

Am I upset because people are calling Slumdog poverty porn? No. Am I troubled that we are celebrating what is in essence a win for a Britisher made movie starring a British born actor? No.

To me all that matters is that ARR was recognized on a global platform. The fact that Resul got an Oscar is amazing for the shadow industry that keeps the movie industry functioning. The kids who acted in the movie have a great story to tell decades from now. To me they were what made Slumdog worth watching. Their spontaneity. The movie captured the vibrancy of desi street life for me. So, whether the movie was made to play to Oscar ‘sterotypes’ or peddles the not-so-glossy part of India Shining is moot.

Perhaps it was written.

12 thoughts on “It is written. No?

  1. Yep, the kids totally made the movie. That said, a great movie is a sum of all its parts. It was the Slumdog’s year, and so it shall go down in history as such! πŸ™‚

  2. Yes – the movie was not that great. Yes – the music was not the best we have heard of ARR. So, what? ARR finally gets the global recognition he deserves. His humility is what strikes me. I missed Pookutty’s acceptance speech too 😦 Kudos to him too πŸ™‚

    Though in my opinion, the movie got way more than that deserved.

    About Seacrest – give him a break. How do you expect him to know everyone’s name? Accepted the kids need to be known, but I don’t think you should hate him for not knowing. To these people, our names are difficult too. If he had not known Dev Patel/Anil Kapoor/Irfan Khan or Freida Pinto then you can crucify him. For all this, the people who announced ARR’s name as nominee/winner murdered the pronounciation. Hate them for that? No….All I would say is that is all they are!

  3. Yeah Laksh, it is a great moment for indian film industry and ARR in particular who joins the elite band to get two oscars in a single year. There are many debates on whether the movie is really worth all these attention and awards. Leaving that aside, the major complaint about the movie is that it is ‘poverty porn’. The sad fact is, it is the Indians who accuse about the movie. Its not about showing India/Mumbai in such a bad state (but nothing unreal or fake)… but to gather media attention for them. If u stay in India and follow the news channels/read the local newspapers, then u will get to know how funny/cranky these politicians or some social activists groups can go to garner media attention. These guys didnt do one bit to improve the state of those slum kids.. but raise slogans when someone captures it in screen and shows it to the world. Since this being a hollywood production, these guys can get more famous. Such is hte poor state of the politicians in this country

  4. Slumdog Millionaire is not the best movie I have seen. It’s not even my top 20 or 30. But I must say I enjoyed this movie completely and I’m happy for Danny Boyle and his cast and crew that they won so many academy awards. The spirit captured by the movie is what deserves applause and technically it’s a marvellous film. I wanted ARR to win the award. I wouldn’t have bothered if the movie didn’t get anything but I was keen ARR getting what he deserves. SM is not even his best composition! That tells us a lot about this genius!

  5. I am so happy for ARR and Pookutty.I consider this award for Rahman as a tribute to all the music he produced during his career.I am also happy that slumchildren got a chance to visit US.Anyway this movie changed the destiny of the many people involved with it.

  6. I too felt that the movie was not Oscar worthy. Both Frieda Pinto and Anil kapoor were hogging the media attention in Grammy awards couple of days back. To top it off in Oscar, Anil rushed to the stage even before Rice (Producer) reached, when the best picture award was announced. After rice gave his speech Anil snatched the Trophy and waved at the crowd. Shame on Anil Kapoor being an experienced actor from India (referred by Ryan as β€œBrad Pitt” India) he should better know how to behave. May be he thought its LUX Cine award ceremony!
    Anyways kudos to Rahman he certainly deserves the award for Jai Ho song. I am happy that two films involving Indians (Slumdog and Smile Pinky) was recognized.

  7. We even watched the Golden Globe and they messed up so bad with ARR’s name. At least it was better this time. More than me S was and is even now excited so much about ARR’s win.

    I didn’t see the movie, so I cannot comment about it’s Oscar worthiness. But I have seen a couple of Oscar winning movies in the past and I have wondered why did it get the award. That holds true for many of the actor/actress awards too.

    I’m really happy that ARR has made this far, but I also think that Oscars has got undue publicity and exposure like many other American things. It’s not a world film festival thing, or an award where movies from all over the world are screened and the best is selected. Oscars is for movies predominantly made in Hollywood/UK and they have a foreign film category. Most of you would disagree with me if I compare it to our own National Awards, but think of it, it’s the same. As I’ve mentioned above Americans have lobbyed for it so much that we all think that it’s the greatest. But to me Cannes, Venice and Berlin film festivals are “the ones”. If our movies get there, then we are talking something. For that matter, Paruthi veeran (a tamil movie) by Ameer did enter the Berlin Film festival and he won the Best Director Special Jury Award, but I guess nobody even knew that. Similarly, Veyil (another tamil movie) was screened in the Cannes Film Festival which is really a huge thing. But how many of us know about that? I don’t think these directors were appreciated by even our own Govt or the cinema fraternity for that matter.

  8. @rads: very true. πŸ™‚ and glad about that.
    @Apar: Re Seacrest. What I found offensive was holding up the paper with the kids’ names. No one expects him to remember each person’s name. He could have just had the kids say their names or left out the names part out of it at all. In a way, I am finding it hard to explain what irked me. It bothered me.
    @Shankar: I haven’t followed the outcry in India but been reading reviews and opinion pieces that voice that view. It may be true in parts but having watched the movie, I did not feel that at all. All I remember was a sense of optimism through out and to me that is what the movie was selling.
    @vjkrishna: Totally with you on this.
    @Anila: Summed up well. Definitely changed the destiny of many people associated with it.
    @Sudha: Less said of Anil Kapoor the better. πŸ™‚
    @Nandini: Guess that is what being brown is all about πŸ™‚
    @Dinesh: Sure was
    @Madhuram: You do raise very valid points. I guess the excitement about the Oscars is because of the publicity it brings for the nominees and the recipients. While I have heard of Berlin or Cannes, I have never followed them. Perception is reality. That is the sad truth. Great to know tamil movies are doing the international circuit. πŸ™‚ Now I know whom to ask for movie recommendations.

  9. Thanks Laksh for taking up to write this post. I too felt about Ryan Seacrest, he is one insensitive person like Simon. The less said, the better.

    Anil Kapoor behaved like an excited-idiot!! He must be feeling..see I did it even though I did not have a great career as compared to SRK and AB.

    Avanuku vandha vazhvu!! He has been the Remake-Raja. 85-90% of his movies were remake of movies made in south.

    ARR is the Mozart of Madras who was the winner all the way. I just wished he mentioned his wife ..but then he said he was too nervous. His wife Saira was looking good. They are one grounded couple.

    Regarding Berlin, Cannes and Venice festivals, they are great too, but then Hollywood is all about Showmanship and that is something every artist aspire for. Hence the publicity of Oscars is more successful than others.

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