One would have imagined that a couple of days after the Oscar awards ceremony, Slumdog fatigue would set in; but no, stories about the Oscar ‘Millionaires’ are still pouring out.
An over-enthusiastic media has gone to the hometowns of the Indian winners, met families, neighbours, teachers, schoolmates of the Slumdog Millionaire cast. Freida Pinto’s discarded fiancé is making a career out of his victimhood; and when he is not available, his family and friends are only too glad to oblige with quotes and photos.
People even vaguely connected with the film or any of its cast and crew, are creeping out of the woodwork, whether it is a singer who sang a single word, or the ‘voices’ who dubbed the film into Hindi, and even a friend of Dev Patel’s mother!
Kids who starred in the film are to get flats, because “Hollywood stars” can’t possibly live in slums. Even by our country’s general tendency to go overboard with anything—whether joy or grief—this is all a bit too much.
One doesn’t hear of celebrations in the streets of Spain because Penelope Cruz won an Oscar, or all of Japan going crazy because two of their films returned with Oscars– Okuribito (Departures), by Yojiro Takita, which won the for best foreign language film, and Tsumiki no Ie (The House of Small Cubes) by Kunio Kato, which won for best animated short film.
Since Slumdog Millionaire is not even an Indian film, our euphoria is probably a case of begaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana…not to take away from the achievements of AR Rahman or Resul Pookutty.
Now look at what an Asian neighbour, without a film industry as big as ours has managed to achieve. So far 12 Japanese films have been nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category, and Departures has won.
Japanese directors to have multiple films be nominated for the award are Akira Kurosawa and Noboru Nakamura. Kurosawa received an Honorary Award for Rashomon, before the formal award in this category was constituted (two other Japanese films did too), and an Oscar for Dersu Uzala (which was a Soviet production) Union). According to information available, among all the countries that have submitted films for the award, Japan ranks fifth in terms of total nominees, behind Sweden (14 nominees) and ahead of the former Soviet Union (nine nominees).
We just make a song and dance of everything, while the Japanese roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of making films that the world appreciates.