'Slumdog Millionaire' Opens in India to Praise and Celebration
Riding high on its multiple recent award nominations, Slumdog Millionaire opened in theatres across India on Friday to sold-out screenings, widespread praise, and national celebration.
The film has been building critical momentum in recent months since placing on nearly every critic's 'best movies of 2008' list, then sweeping the US Critics' Choice Awards, then sweeping the Golden Globe Awards, and culminating in its nomination for 10 Academy Awards on Thursday.
Nevertheless, Slumdog Millionaire is not without its critics, the highest profile of whom has been Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who expressed concern over the fact that it took a Westerner's version of "an idea authored by an Indian" in order for the film to earn its nearly universal accolades.
But, as Slumdog opens in India this weekend, it does so on the cusp of more than just award nominations and critical debates — the film is being celebrated by fans across the country and around the world for its 'love conquers all' message and its riveting cinematic experience.
Check out NowPublic's extensive coverage of Slumdog Millionaire:
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Slumdog Millionaire Criticized by India's Amitabh Bachchan
Slumdog Millionaire receives 10 Academy Award nominations
'Slumdog millionaire' sweeps US critics' awards
India's film industry basked Friday in the glow of 10 Oscar nominations for "Slumdog Millionaire" as the rags-to-riches story finally hit theaters to rave reviews and predictions of blockbuster sales.
The film, set amid the fetid alleys of Mumbai's notorious slums, continued its surprise run of success since it swept four categories at the Golden Globes, including the prize for best drama.
The movie got the second highest number of Oscar nominations Thursday, including best director for Danny Boyle, best picture and — generating the most buzz in India — three music nominations for Indian composer A.R. Rahman.
A front-page headline in the Times of India trumpeted "RAH RAH RAHMAN" while a parade of Bollywood stars attending the Thursday night premiere in Mumbai rejoiced that the celebrated songwriter was earning international accolades.
"I'm at the top of the world," Rahman told the Times of India. "Everything is a blur."
The Times of India urged readers to set aside nationalistic debates and see the film for its passion and artistry, calling Slumdog "Cinderella-like fairy tale, with the edge of a thriller and the vision of an artist".
Forget the twitter about aggrieved national sentiment. For, Slumdog Millionaire is neither poverty porn nor slum tourism. No, unlike what the desi nationalists' blogosphere claims, it is not a case of the infamous western eye ferreting out oriental squalor and peddling it as the exotic dirt bowl of the east. No, Slumdog Millionaire is just a piece of riveting cinema, meant to be savoured as a Cinderella-like fairy tale, with the edge of a thriller and the vision of an artist. It was never meant to be a documentary on the down and out in Dharavi. And it isn't.