February 6, 2009 8:58:39 am
Oscar nominee AR Rahman has a polite suggestion for those in Bollywood who complain that the hit film “Slumdog Millionaire” casts India in a negative light with its depiction of poverty in Mumbai’s slums: don’t just criticize it but make your own film.
“In my opinion if creative people want to comment on a film,and if I were a director and felt that way,I would make another film and prove my point and say this is what India is about,” Rahman told The Associated Press in an interview from Los Angeles before returning home to work on film scores before participating in the Feb. 22 Oscars awards show.
As for ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ the noted Indian film music composer believes it is “a great statement of showing in a way the past reality and the growth of the economy in India,which all comes across beautifully.”
The 43-year-old Rahman has been hailed in India for his three Oscar nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire” – for best original score and the songs “O … Saya” and “Jai Ho.” But the rags-to-riches saga of a Mumbai orphan who competes on India’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” quiz show received a controversial reception in India.
Rahman refused to comment on a defamation lawsuit filed against him and actor Anil Kapoor,who plays the quizmaster in the film,by a Mumbai slum-dwellers’ rights group alleging its members found the term ‘Slumdog’ insulting.
But he said he had no qualms about working on the film with British director Danny Boyle and his crew,whom he described as “very sensitive people.”
“When you came out of the film … that felt so good and positive that nothing else mattered to me,” said Rahman. “I loved working with Danny and I loved his whole vision of the screenplay and the artistic quality of the film.
“And for me it’s not about India alone,it’s about the human spirit which triumphs,and this could have happened in China or Brazil or anywhere else.”
Rahman says the film is consistent with his humanitarian goals. An honorary U.N. ambassador,he set up the A.R. Rahman Foundation to support educational programs for underprivileged children across India. He has also founded a conservatory in his home city of Chennai to prepare youngsters for careers in music.
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