Oscar is not far, after all!
Slumdog Millionaire  

For the millions of Oscar loving fans of Indian cinema, January 22 was a day of absolute significance. When the academy announced its nominations for the 81st Oscars in 24 categories, Slumdog Millionaire pulled off 10 nominations including a whopping 3 nominations in the music category for A R Rahman. Slumdog follows close on the heels of the Brad Pitt starrer The Curious case of Benjamin Button and is nominated for some of the vital categories such as Best motion picture of the year, adapted screenplay, editing and sound mixing.

Rahman said he and his family are on top of the world after the announcement and that he did not believe he would be nominated in three categories. Danny is a blessing for the movie, an elated Rahman told a news channel. Celebration was in the air at the Slumdog's Indian premiere and Irffan Khan predicted that the movie would bring home at least one Oscar. Bring home? But isn't the movie majorly British and doesn't Dev Patel speak in a sophisticated British accent in the movie?

On the other hand, for a nation that lives and breathes cinema, Oscar is a dream come true of sorts. After all, what better way to gain international recognition than gaining nominations for the top award in the field of cinema? Ten straight nominations for a film about India is indeed an achievement although neither director Danny Boyle nor the film's lead Dev Patel are Indian.

Slumdog has also exposed the underbelly of incredible India, made to look like heaven in the posters and campaigns by the Tourism board authorities. The same way booker winner Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger did and received scathing criticism from Indian critics. And didn't someone rightly say that the West gobbles up tales of poverty and corruption from third world countries – India, in this case? Golden Globe stands rightful proof for this argument.

In the history of Oscars, however, only three Indian films won nominations in the Foreign Language Category and none won. Mother India directed by Mehboob Khan, Salaam Bombay directed by Mira Nair and Ashutosh Gowarikar's Lagaan made it to the nominations all in an interval of almost two decades between each. And this year's nominations Taare Zameen Par and the independent entry Tingya failed to win the Oscar nominations in the foreign language category.

Slumdog's nomination came out of a voting of 5,810 members of the Academy who have seen all the nominated films. Which means Slumdog was subjected to close scrutiny and managed to impress the panel of voting members.

For someone who was successful in impressing the Golden Globe panel, Rahman's Oscar winning will be a cake walk. As the envelopes unfold on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center the world will sit up and take notice of the Indian musician who won the country its first Oscar, a dream every Indian nurtures.

Whatever is remaining of the world, that is oblivious to the rising super power called India, will know that it's more than just a land of US job-stealers offering inexpensive BPO / IT services. But sadly, in that case scenario, the world's first glimpse of India would be its ugly slums (although picturized beautifully), corrupt cops and atrociously unreasonable bureaucracy hidden beneath its glossiness.

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