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Slumdog Update: Protests, Giving Back and More Awards February 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Entertainment.
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slumdog-millionaireOscar front-runner Slumdog Millionaire is still dominating the press for various reasons, both good and bad.  As a result, this is shaping up to be a very interesting Academy Awards this year.  Will the voters stick with the movie or will they be swayed by the negative press?

Protests in Mumbai

Despite the success of the film worldwide, Slumdog Millionaire has been the subject of protests in the country in which it was made.  Naturally, there are those who believe it is a poor portrayal of India and in particular Mumbai.  We’ve also already heard about the child exploitation allegations.  Now according to Reuters, dozens or residents of an actual slum in Mumbai (where some scenes of the film were shot) protested against the film by “hurling insults and hitting pictures of its cast and crew with slippers”.

According to The Times, social groups in India are also speaking up against the film.  “Referring to people living in slums as dogs is a violation of human rights,” claimed social activist Tateshwar Vishwakarma, calling for effigies of director Danny Boyle to be burnt as a sign of protest.  A defamation suit was filed on 23 January against the film’s composer AR Rahman and actor Anil Kapoor (who plays the host).

Nicholas Almeida, another activist, was reported by MSNBC to be planning another lawsuit to change the film’s title.

On top of this, various Indian filmakers have also spoken out against the film’s Indian stereotypes and unbelievable plot.

Giving back to the Slums

With the blacklash in India running wild, The Times has reported that the film’s makers are planning an ambitious scheme to pump “significant” amounts of the film’s profits back into the slums of Mumbai (and perhaps the rest of India) by establishing a fund.  According to director Danny Boyle, the idea came to them after their successful night at the Golden Globes.

While refusing to specify exactly how much will be donated, Boyle said that the aim of the fund would be to assist underprivileged children and to distribute money to various projects.

The director has also defended the film’s title, stating that “slumdog” was not intended as an insult and was more akin to the word “underdog” – to connote the idea of a person who succeeds against all odds.

Slumdog bags more Awards

slumdogmillionaireSlumdog Millionaire picked up more accolades at the Richard Attenborough Film Awards handed out at the end of January.  The film won the award for Film of the Year, while Danny Boyle picked up another one for Best Director.  It was also good to see Dev Patel win a couple of awards, the Rising Star Award and the people’s choice British Breakthrough Star prize.

Other winners included Kate Winslet (Best Actress for The Reader), Mickey Rourke (Best Actor for The Wrestler) and Martin McDonagh (Best Screenwriter for In Bruges).  In the People’s Choice categories, The Dark Knight won best film and best score, while Mamma Mia! took the best British film prize.

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