A R Rahman today became the first Indian to get three Oscar nominations for his score in British-Indian movie Slumdog Millionaire which also got the nod in seven other categories,including best film and best director. The film is being released in India tomorrow.
Rahman was nominated for best original score while both Jai Ho and O Saya were shortlisted for the best original song. The film also won nominations in cinematography,sound mixing,sound editing and film editing.
With 13 nominations,The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,based on a F Scott Fitzgerald short story with Brad Pitt playing a man who ages backward,led the field. Apart from best actor for Pitt and best director for David Fincher,Benjamin Button has also picked best supporting actress nomination for Taraji P Henson and best adapted screenplay for Eric Roth and Robin Swicord. Batman sequel The Dark Knight and the gay-rights saga Milk each got eight nominations.
Benjamin Button,Slumdog Millionaire and Milk will vie for best picture at the 81st annual Academy Awards on February 22 alongside The Reader and Frost/Nixon. All five also have best director nominations. Australian actor Heath Ledger,who died of an overdose of prescription pills exactly a year ago,was nominated for his supporting role as the villainous Joker in The Dark Knight.
The Indian hero among the nominees is Rahman,with three nominations one for original score and two for original songs (Jai Ho and O Saya). Im happy to have done India proud. But Im happier for Boyle,Resul (Pookutty) and every Indian crew member involved in the project. Its all a team work. I hope we will bring the Oscars home, Rahman told The Indian Express by phone. Im surprised at the same time because I didnt expect three nominations. Credit should go to Gulzarji who wrote Jai Ho.
Only two Indians have won the Oscar till date Bhanu Athaiya (for costume design in Gandhi) and Satyajit Ray who was given an honourary Oscar for his contribution to films. In 1982,Gandhi was nominated for 11 and won eight.
The Slumdog Millionaire nominations,on the eve of the Indian release of the film,turned its star-studded premiere today at the Imax theatre in Mumbai into a celebration party. A beaming Boyle,introduced,raved about and rooted for his cast and crew,especially the six young actors and his co-director Loveleen Tandan.
Im so excited, Boyle said. There are so many people behind making the film successful whom I would like to introduce, he said. His only regret at such a great occasion was the absence of Rahman,who was in Chennai. Its sad that Rahman couldnt be here as he has to work on his next film Dilli 6. Without his music,the film couldnt have achieved so much.
The news of 10 nominations took time to sink in. Actor Frieda Pinto found it very hard to believe. Im glad I wasnt standing on the edge of a cliff when I got the news. I would have definitely toppled down with the excitement, she said.
What makes this film special for Indian film industry is that the cast was mostly Indian while the crew was a mix of Indians and foreigners. No international director would usually take an Indian for an assistant director,unlike Boyle. The film has everything that makes a Bollywood masala movie. But what made it different was the way Boyle has added multiple layer making it appealing for both the international and Indian audience, said actor Irrfan Khan,who plays a minor role in the film.
Tandan echoed that sentiment. It was the biggest achievement of Indian cinema. Its amazing that the cast and crew,who were a mix of Indian and international members,completed the shooting in 102 days, she said. Director-actor Mahesh Manjrekar,who does a cameo in the film,said,Slumdog Millionaire will make the world take notice of Indian cinema. Dev Patel,the lead actor,who was full of boyish charm,found the happenings of the evening truly exhilarating.
(with inputs from Alaka Sahani)
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