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‘Slumdog Millionaire’ sweeps Baftas

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WINNING STREAK: Director Danny Boyle and A.R. Rahman arrive at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards event in London.
WINNING STREAK: Director Danny Boyle and A.R. Rahman arrive at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards event in London.

Hasan Suroor

March to the Oscars with latest wins in seven categories

LONDON: Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle’s plucky take on Mumbai’s slum-children, on Sunday glided over the last hump on its unstoppable march to the Oscars after it swept the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, or Baftas. Here it won seven major awards including for best film, best direction and A.R. Rahman’s music. The Baftas are regarded as a dress-rehearsal for the big Hollywood event.

“Unbelievable again!” quipped Rahman, who won a Golden Globe for his score barely a few weeks ago.

The film, which was nominated in 11 categories, also won the Baftas for best adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing and sound. This brought its tally of international awards to nearly 50.

The only other Indian, apart from Rahman, to receive a Bafta was Resul Pookutty for sound along with Glenn Freemantle, Richard Pryke, Tom Sayers, Ian Tapp.

However, neither Dev Patel, the teenage “hero” of the film who was nominated for best actor, nor Freida Pinto, the “heroine” tipped for best supporting actress, made it. Both had their moments, though, when they were called to the stage to present the award for best costume.

Earlier, young Patel joked about having been nominated at all saying he was surprised. “I can’t believe it. Please someone slap me,” he said.

Born and brought up in Britain, he seemed happy to be simply back on his “home turf” and appeared to revel in being at the centre of so much attention.

The most important event in Britain’s movie calendar was so dominated by Slumdog Millionaire that some of Hollywood’s biggest offerings were almost reduced to the also-ran category.

Critics reckoned the film won an award every 20 minutes, and punters reportedly lost some £I million, having put money on SDM’s rivals.

One of the biggest surprises of the evening was SDM beating its strong Hollywood contender, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt. For films like The Reader, Revolutionary Road and Doubt losing to SDM appeared unfair to some, who attributed its success to “media hype.”

Boyle called it a triumph for the spirit of the people of Mumbai. He regretted that some people in India had objected to the term “slumdog.” He added: “I’m disappointed. It was meant in an aspirational way.”

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