First of all congratulations to the cast and crew of Slumdog Millonaire. Since I've not seen any of the other four nominees for best film it would be premature to say that this was indeed a deserving win. Definitely Slumdog doesn't measure up to the standards of a Silence of the Lambs or Life is Beautiful. But it had a freshness about it that was appealing. However, the victory has set off wild celebrations in India from all walks of society. Which is kind of surprising considering the reception given to the movie prior to the Oscar win. Anyway all manners of jingoistic hypernationalism is on display now and if some of the congratulatory messages are to be believed then every Thomas, Sadiq and Hari seems to either have predicted that these men would one day achieve greatness or in some crazily indirect way claimed to have contributed to this achievement. As usual the politicians take the cake, coming out with the most ridiculously opportunistic statement I have read/heard ever in all my years of following the news and current events.
This from Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, and I quote "We are proud that in the conducive environment of good governance by the United Progressive Alliance with special emphasis on inclusiveness, we have been an achieving India." This was part of his statement congratulating the cast and winners of Slumdog Millionaire. This has to be the most outrageously shameless attempt to bask in someone else's glory, ever. What has the UPA government done that could contribute to Slumdog's victory? I can only think of one thing. This government has done absolutely nothing to relieve the common man's poverty and misery and has thus perpetuated the slums in Mumbai maybe even contributed to its expansion. Besides how does a victory for Slumdog become an example of an achieving India? It is after all a Hollywood production and the fulfilment of director Danny Boyle's vision.
Yes, more Indians have managed to get on the winners' list on Sunday, than in all the previous years put together. And our Hindustani hearts beat with furious pride in the light of our fellow countrymen's achievement. But make no mistake about it; this is their achievement and theirs alone. Neither society nor government has played any part in it. So while we savor their moment of glory, let's also remember that this is after all an award... for a movie. Nothing more.