It's been a rich haul for "Slumdog Millionaire" at the Oscars. MetroPlus gets some interesting reactions to the film's victory and A. R. Rahman's twin delight

How many times have you heard India’s name at the Oscars? There was Bhanu Athaiya’s costume design award in 1982 for Richard Attenborough’s historical film “Gandhi”. Then India’s greatest filmmaker Satyajit Ray was awarded an honorary Oscar for his contribution to world cinema in 1992, just weeks before his death. Some forgotten names include Apurva Shah and Umesh Shukla, special effects wizards from India, who had worked on “Ratatouille” and “Titanic” respectively, which went on to win the Oscar. Every year, movies were sent from India for the best foreign language film category, and only thrice since 1979 — “Mother India”, “Salaam Bombay” and “Lagaan” — were Indian films nominated.

“Slumdog Millionaire” may not have made a lot of money in the country, but as far as international awards go, the British drama film directed by Danny Boyle has had a winning streak. And India is shining. At the 81st Academy Awards, A. R. Rahman has won a double Oscar — one for Best Original Score for “Slumdog Millionaire” and the other for Best Song for the title track “Jai Ho”, sharing it with lyricist Gulzar — and Resul Pookutty has won it for sound mixing. There’s also “Smile Pinki”, a documentary on the life of cosmetic surgeon Subodh Kumar Singh of Uttar Pradesh that won the Oscar in its category, making sure India’s name was on everyone’s lips.

Time for celebration

Around 30 members of the A.R. Rahman fan group (an online Yahoo group) watched the Oscars live at a restaurant at Koramangala, in Bangalore. The founder member of the group Gopal Srinivasan was unfortunately away from the city on work. The group (with 80 members in Bangalore alone), meets up every time Rahman has an audio release or on the first day first show of any of his films. They decided this was a special occasion they wanted to enjoy together. “He’s done us proud,” says an ecstatic Radhakrishnan. S, who organised the Bangalore meet. “If India deserved an Oscar, it definitely had to be Rahman,” he said. Amidst much noise and joyous celebration that they shared with a member from Chennai and Hyderabad, the group was also thrilled with the way Rahman carried himself and the message he gave out at the Oscars. The group celebrated the win of the maestro by sponsoring lunch for children at the Rakum School For The Blind. They hope that once Rahman returns, they will be able to meet with him.

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Wow!

I’ve just sent my wishes to my uncle. The whole of India was waiting for this. And wow! A.R. Rahman has made it. Perseverance pays. And he has worked for 18 diligent years. It’s amazing. It’s the uniqueness of his music that has won hearts. And what touched me most about the awards night was Rahman’s acknowledgement of God’s grace in Tamil!

G. V. Prakash

Musician

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Well deserved

Oh! What can I say. I’m so happy for Rahman. He deserves all this and much more. What a journey it has been for him. I’ve been lucky to have worked for him in some numbers, including the ‘Liquid Dance’ one in “Slumdog Millionaire”. Rahman’s music is about versatility. His knowledge of music is astounding. His fingers literally dance on the piano. For me, it’s been awe-inspiring and humbling to have worked with him. ‘Liquid Dance’ was an inspired piece. While recording the number itself, I could feel great vibes. Rahman has done Chennai and India proud.

Sri Mathumitha

Playback singer

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Father’s blessings

Rahman’s mother Kareema Begum, a picture of poise before she left for the U.S. for the Oscars, had this to say about her son’s achievement: It’s all because of the blessings showered by his father from heaven.

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It had to be Rahman

Music composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan was all praise for the Mozart of Madras. “Basically I know that if anybody at all could have won an Oscar for India it had to be Rahman. He is just the example of a perfect musician and technician. He knows how to blend technology and melody and he is blessed with grace from above. I frankly feel he deserves much more than this. In fact, he could’ve won much earlier,” he says.

Shankar Mahadevan

Singer-composer

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Recognition for talent

Filmmaker Amol Palekar, whose film “Paheli” was sent as India’s entry to the Oscars in 2005, was ecstatic on hearing the news. “It feels absolutely great. The first reason is that technicians have got awards. I always feel that, particularly in India, we tend to look at actors more favourably than people who work behind the scenes to give the film a complete feel. The other thing I am proud of is that the same song-and-dance idiom which Hollywood used to look down upon Indian filmmaking has won us the Oscars. So though it is not too late in the day to recognise our talent, I definitely feel that Hollywood has been late in recognising this idiom.”

Amol Palekar

Actor-filmmaker

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Humility scores

Rahman’s victory is a culmination of years of hard work and humility. Hitherto, only Indian classical music was internationally acclaimed. Now, thanks to Rahman, even our film music has won global recognition. He is to Indian music what Sachin Tendulkar is to our cricket. I feel this is just the beginning. Hopefully, more talent from here will strive for such recognition in the years to come.

Rajiv Menon

Director-cinematographer

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Wonderful human being

I called him soon after he won the award and he immediately took the call to say ‘thank you, Siva’. That’s ARR, whom the world sees as only an ace music director. But I think it’s his humbleness that has taken him to such great heights. I am grateful to god for being associated with a musical genius and a wonderful human being. Just wish the late Sridhar was there to watch Rahman’s Oscar moment.

Sivamani

Percussionist

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Big day for India

Anurag Kashyap, whose film “Black Friday” inspired Danny Boyle to shoot “Slumdog Millionaire” on location, is celebrating its success at the Oscars by singing Jai Ho! “Rahman has that kind of range. In fact Gulzarji and Resul are top-of-their-category artists who were competing with the best. So it’s an overwhelming feeling. I feel vindicated that my film ‘Black Friday’ which went unrecognised in my own country was an inspiration for this Oscar-winner! It’s a big day for India, not just for Indian cinema,” he adds.

Anurag Kashyap

Director-actor

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