AR Rahman's twin victory at the Oscars as also an Academy Award for Smile Pinky has Indians in the US gushing with pride as they watched their homeland shining at the biggest award night in movie world.
Slumdog Millionaire, that had been raking in all major international awards, completed its victory lap yesterday as it swept 8 Academy Awards, including two for Rahman and a gold statuette each for lyricist Gulzar and sound technician Resul Pookutty.
"It is a big year for India at the Oscars. For Indians staying abroad, it is a matter of immense pride when something that represents India gets recognition at such a global scale," Sangeeta Singh, assistant director at a New York City school said.
India has been trying to make a mark at the Oscars for a long time now and did it this year - from Rahman's performance, the Indian dance and music to the child actors of Slumdog Millionaire and Smile Pinky, Singh added.
She said Rahman's music has been widely accepted in the US and Americans recognise Indian music more through his work.
Congratulating Rahman, city-based entrepreneur Mamta Anand said the music maestro was the show stealer at awards night and "we are extremely proud of his achievement."
India and Bollywood ruled the roost in the media coverage of the 81st Annual Academy Awards as Americans woke up to pictures of Slumdog's excited child actors flanked by Rahman, Anil Kapoor, Irrfaan Khan, Danny Boyle, Frieda Pinto and Dev Patel splashed across newspapers and the internet.
The headline of a Chicago Tribune story on Slumdog read, "A passage to India", with the article going on to read, "The rollicking wish-fulfillment yarn Slumdog Millionaire, nearly dumped into the marketplace last year as a direct-to-DVD offering, fulfilled its destiny at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre".
ABC News had this to say of "the show stealer" Slumdog - "After winning the hearts of moviegoers around world, Slumdog Millionaire, a buoyantly hopeful romance set amid the poverty of Mumbai, India, won the Academy Award for best picture, capping a night of wins including the best director Oscar for Danny Boyle".
An article in the Chicago Suntimes said Slumdog's win would give the same "feeling of elevation" to India as the November 4 election of President Barack Obama gave to his hometown Chicago.
"... There must have been cheering in the streets of Mumbai. As one Slumdog winner after another came to the podium, I imagine some Indians felt elevation similar to that experienced by Chicagoans during the Grant Park telecast on the night of November 4. Did you notice how many of the Slumdog winners were Indians? Nice that Anil Kapoor was in the room. And all the kids worked the red carpet like seasoned pros".
CNN quoted film critic with Film Journal International Frank Lovece as saying, "International cinema comes in cycles in the United States. Now, it is Bollywood's time".
It said "The film is a celebration of India -- from the slums to the Taj Mahal.. It pays homage to Bollywood by incorporating many of the industry's norms -- vibrant colors, fast-paced editing, a fairy-tale love story and a feel-good musical dance ending".
Further, it quoted Gene Newman, editorial director at Premiere.Com as saying, "Slumdog is the reason why people go to the movies. It is the whole package. It is an incredible story ... And it makes you feel good."
Slumdog Millionaire is East meeting West, Bollywood meeting Hollywood, read another CNN article.