Slumdog Millionaire took the best-picture Academy Award and seven other Oscars, including director for Danny Boyle, whose ghetto-to-glory story paralleled the film’s unlikely rise to Hollywood’s summit.
A story of hope amid squalor in Mumbai, Slumdog Millionaire came in with 10 nominations, its eight wins including adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing and both music Oscars (score and song).
The filmmakers accepted the best-picture trophy surrounded by both the adult professional actors, who appeared among the cast of relative unknowns, and some of the children the British director cast from the slums of Mumbai.
“Just to say to Mumbai, all of you who helped us make the film and all of those of you who didn’t thank you very much. You dwarf even this guy,” Boyle said, holding up his directing Oscar.
Boyle’s film not only won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at Annual Academy Awards ceremony at Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, but also for six others including two for A R Rahman.
Rahman, the third Indian to win the coveted golden statuette, picked up the awards for his best original score as also the best original song Jai Ho from the film with lyrics by Gulzar and Sukhwinder Singh as the lead singer.
“God is great!” Rahman exclaimed in Tamil as he picked up the awards, saying he was as excited and terrified before coming here as he was at his marriage.
Competing with Jai Ho for the second Oscar was another song composed by Rahman, O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire, with its lyrics too written by him with Maya Arulpragasam (MIA). He also sang the song with Maya, the British singer of Sri Lankan origin.
The film follows the travails and triumphs of Jamal, an orphan who artfully dodges a criminal gang that mutilates children to make them more pitiable beggars.
Jamal witnesses his mother’s violent death, endures police torture and struggles with betrayal by his brother, while single-mindedly hoping to reunite with the lost love of his childhood.
Fate rewards Jamal, whose story unfolds through flashbacks, as he recalls how he came to know the answers that made him a champion on India’s version of the TV game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?