New Delhi: From a Mumbai tea boy’s journey to fame and fortune in “Slumdog Millionaire” to a UP girl’s story of overcoming the social stigma of a cleft-lip in “Smile Pinki”, stories from India are the flavour of the Oscars this year.
While the debate continues whether “Slumdog Millionaire” should be considered an Indian film or not, expectations are high over A.R. Rahman winning an Oscar.
The musician has earned three nominations under the Best Original Score and Best Original Song for ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘O Saya’.
Indian sound technician Resul Pookutty, who has already won a BAFTA, is also in the race to bring home a award in the Sound Mixing category, where he is nominated along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke for “Slumdog Millionaire”.
“Smile Pinki” is a 40-minute documentary on the life of Pinki, an eight-year-old girl from the rural part of Mirzapur. She cannot smile due to her cleft-lip and is teased as “othkatti’(the one with a cut lip) but a simple surgery with the help of social workers changes her life.
“The Final Inch”, which is nominated in the same category, documents the struggle of polio field workers as they travel from village to village to administer polio drops under the polio eradication programme of India.
Adapted from the novel “Q and A” by Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup, Boyle’s Oscar front-runner was shot in Mumbai.
The film, which is nominated in ten categories, marks a strong Indian presence. Indian actors Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan play key roles in the film and the female lead is played by Frieda Pinto, who hails from Mumbai.
Delhi based co-director Loveleen Tandon is another Indian, who contributed to the movie as she convinced Boyle and Beaufoy to include Hindi dialogues in the film and also discovered the child actors, 9-year-old Rubina Ali and 10-year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail from the slums of Mumbai.
While Boyle’s film has faced criticism for depicting Indian poverty, “Smile Pinki” and “The Final Inch”, which are nominated in category of Best Documentary (Short Film), are being hailed for showcasing the struggle of Indian social workers.
All three films document the everyday struggle of common man in India.