Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Slumdog Celebration

I have no idea how the Oscars played out in the States this year. I won't hear the Monday morning quarterbacking or post mortem of who wore what. I will tell you that it was a very, very big deal for South Asians, most notably Indians.

The large Indian broadcaster that we can watch here in Nepal had advertised that they would show the Oscars live at 6:30 am with a prime time reprise that evening. Rooting for Slumdog I was up in my jammies and turned on the TV. Nothing, nada, nic, niet - no Oscars and no explanation. While surfing to see if I had just made some mistake I happened on Indian CNN. There was NO OTHER story the whole day other than to learn the fate of Slumdog Millionaire at the Academy Awards. They had a split screen with scenes from the movie running on one side and interviews with various second cousins once removed of anyone who had anything to do with the movie on the other. The ticker running across the bottom of the screen would give you the latest updates from inside the Kodak Theatre.

Needless to say Slumdog Millionaire (which I did see here and loved) cleaned up. Cities and towns all across India erupted in cheers. It doesn't matter that the producers and director were not Indian. They felt that somehow Indian cinema had been given a global audience and been deemed worthy. The jubilation! The slums of Mumbai were nonstop fodder for the newsmen. I know it was just entertainment - not "real" news - but watching it play out was fascinating. In a part of the world where religious and caste discrimination have historically played out in a dramatic fashion, the idea that disparate groups would coalesce around a movie is remarkable to me.

So for the underdogs, true love and those who just wish for better .... Jai Ho!!!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I haven't seen the movie yet but I've heard it's really good!