Victory has a hundred fathers. Slumdog Millionaire had barely won at the Oscars that everyone wanted a piece of the pie.
The United Progressive Alliance government said the film’s success was proof of its “good, inclusive governance”, claiming the eight Oscars as its “achievements”. Home minister P. Chidambaramhas suggested A.R. Rahman’s prizes be tax-exempt. Not to be left out, the Bharatiya Janata Party started a convention by singing Jai Ho! from the movie.
Before the song becomes India’s national anthem, permit us this history lesson. Last month, the movie’s India release found no shortage of detractors. Slum dwellers were against “slumdog”, human-rights activists against “poverty porn”, and a Hindutva group against Ram’s portrayal. The only ones who didn’t object, it seemed, were millionaires.
Politicians are rejoicing, perhaps because they realize that without them, India’s slums, and this movie, just wouldn’t exist. Who needs development anyway when poverty can win Oscars?