Irrfan Khan spoke to Roshmila Bhattacharya from LA, hours after the Oscars
Ten nominations and eight wins for Slumdog... Were you expecting such a bonanza?
I was expecting six, praying that (A.R.) Rahman would win at least one Oscar for the country. We won three, counting the Best Sound Mixing award for Resul Pookutty. It’s the triumph of our talent that we could breakthrough in what is a very competitive world...without any resources, any pull or any kind of networking.
What do you think worked in favour of Slumdog...?
Like a democracy, these awards, too, work on the numbers game. There are almost 1,000 members in the Academy who have voting powers. Though DVDs go out to all of them, the biggest struggle is getting them to see your film.
But visibility wasn’t a problem with Slumdog Millionaire. It was such a phenomenon already that we didn’t need to lobby for it. When we were walking the red carpet, a loud cheer went up whenever a member of the cast was spotted. There were shouts of ‘Look, the Slumdog…kids.’ The kind of impact the film has made is indescribable. That’s the magic — a mystery that no one has been able to decipher yet.
What did you tell Rahman?
I met him before the ceremony and told him he was amazing, he smiled.