This year, the Oscars were draped in Indian colours. Sadly, though, Slumdog Millionaire is not an Indian film but a film about India and Indians made by an acclaimed Western director, Danny Boyle. This film is a good example of globalisation bringing the entire world together. The idea of this film was conceived by an Indian and made by a Westerner. Though this film is termed a Hollywood enterprise, I swell with pride as the Indian participation in this Western endeavour is quite overwhelming.
It’s 15 years since Rahman erupted onto the scene in India and after one-and-a-half decades, the whole world has woken up to the musical genius of AR Rahman. His Oscar was very well deserved because what the West witnessed was only a fraction of this man’s true genius.
Though this film is a Western effort, it would not be possible without an important ensemble of Indian artists and technicians. However big and masterful a technician, he can never create the ambience and the sounds of Mumbai. This could only have been done by the unassuming Resul Pookutty. My identification with Resul’s talent is way beyond the present days of global recognition. It was Resul who did the sound of my National Award-winning film Traffic Signal.
During the Traffic Signal days, I noticed one thing in Resul — his meticulousness about his work. He used to stand near railway tracks to record the sound of trains. This man’s dedication to his work goes beyond what is required. This is what makes him an international brand when it comes to sound.
I have always been enamoured of Gulzaar saab. As I’ve grown as a filmmaker, I’ve seen the brilliance of this man. His writing, his understanding of the craft floors me. Every time I make up my mind that this particular piece of work is his best, he manages to change my opinion with his latest creation. This veteran can give any young filmmaker or writer a run for their money.
Though I am in no way associated with Slumdog, I have an emotional link with the success and the glory of the movie. My emotional connect with every Indian member of this film goes beyond the fact that we share the same citizenry; it is a feeling of happiness over the recognition these people have brought to the Indian film industry and to India.
The success of Slumdog globally and at the Oscars has reaffirmed our faith in Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and many others as world-class talents. My ultimate salute is to the conviction of Danny Boyle, who could have chosen to work with a Hollywood team but decided otherwise — and God willing, his belief has been rewarded with an Oscar sweep.
The West has woken up today, but we always knew and recognised the depth and the sheer genius of our talent pool. I proudly join my fraternity and my country in a standing ovation to greet the Indian success of an international film... Slumdog Millionaire.