India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

And the Oscar goes to…

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Pulitzer prize winning film critic Roger Ebert says he can’t remember a year when it was easier to pick the Oscars.

Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker”, which has picked up key awards in the run-up to the world’s most prestigious movie awards, is the favourite to bag the Best Picture trophy, with all-time box-office king “Avatar” the other contender.

The best actor award is expected to go to Jeff Bridges for his role as a country singer in “Crazy Hearts” but Morgan Freeman could prove the dark horse with his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in “Invictus”.

The best actress trophy is a toss-up between double Oscar winner Meryl Streep for her role as a chef in “Julie & Julia” and favourite Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side”, in which she helps a homeless boy become football star.

The Slumdog view

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On a recent house-hunting trip in the suburbs of Mumbai, an enthusiastic real estate agent opened the French windows of a tenth-floor apartment and stepped aside to let us enjoy the view.

“It’s the Oscar view ma’am. The ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ view,” he said with a flourish as we took in the rows of slums spread out before us.

“Mere paas dialogue hai…”

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The last thing I expected A.R. Rahman to do during his Oscar speech is invoke Salim-Javed. After all, you don’t expect to hear one of Bollywood’s most famous dialogues on Hollywood’s biggest night. But in hindsight, I am so glad he said “mere paas maa hain.”

Not only did he demonstrate his love and respect for his mother, he also pretty much made that particular one-liner from Hindi cinema world famous. Melodramatic and over-the-top though it may have been, Shashi Kapoor saying those four words to his brother (Amitabh Bachchan) in “Deewar” remains one of my favourite moments in Indian cinema.

Every ‘Slumdog’ has its day

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Dilshad Qureshi, Rubina’s aunt, is a happy woman. She got up at five this morning, finished her household chores and dressed up in her nicest clothes.

For this woman from a Mumbai slum, the Oscars were coming home.

 

I was there at Rubina’s (the youngest Latika in the film) cramped quarters, located in a slum by the Bandra train tracks, since six in the morning.

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