By the time you read this, Indians across the globe would have adjusted to the new development in the history of Indian cinema. The annual ceremony at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, turned out to be similar to Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony as within moments, almost every living being was made aware of the change that has taken place.
So, keeping aside the BBC’s version of how ‘British film Slumdog Millionaire’ won ‘eight Oscars’, on which we will debate later, imagine what would have happened had the movie failed to grab even one of the coveted trophies on Monday.
There’s not an iota of doubt that hopes of millions would have been shattered and ‘Jai Ho’ would have remained just a song instead of being lifted to its present status, that of an alternative national anthem.
The biggest blow, however, would have come to the Indian media, which had been preparing for this moment ever since the nominations were announced. Not only would it have had to fall back on plan-B of reporting the usual stories about people dying everywhere in the world, Pakistan’s never-changing rhetoric, a bold display of Karunanidhi’s hunger strike etc, but journalists everywhere would have had to work even harder to give reasons for Slumdog Millionaire’s failure.
The ‘experts’, who will now gather in the TV studious to discuss the bright prospects of Bollywood in the light of this development ,would had to question a) where we failed, and b) whether Slumdog is really an Indian movie or just another flick on the country’s underbelly?
Protests against Danny Boyle’s attempt to showcase our rich heritage in a bad light would have been re-ignited by now, with a celebrity or two updating their blogs to exhibit their resentment over the matter. We would have even moved on to blame the jury of the Academy Awards for being biased against us, as it has previously been when Mother India and Lagaan were nominated but failed to win. So what if they were nominated in the Best International Film category, unlike Slumdog’s 10 nominations. A loss would have been seen as a loss.
And after everyone would have made enough of a hue and cry, we would have, as habit, found solace in the age-old belief of ‘awards are no yardsticks to measure success’, till next year when another entry at the Oscars would have raised a billion hopes again.
But since reality is something different, and especially at a time when Slumdog Millionaire did manage to become India’s Titanic at the Oscars, let’s rack our brains on the question that should matter most to all of us now: How dare the BBC call Slumdog a British movie?