At the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 22nd, celebrations were the order of the evening. “Slumdog Millionaire” had just been nominated for ten Oscars, best original song among them. Gulzar, the songwriter of “Jai ho”, the first Hindi song nominated for the honour, was in attendance. When Gulzar was asked about the controversies surrounding the hotly anticipated Indian debut of the film, he changed the subject: “Why do you want to talk about negative things. Let us celebrate the positive development. [The nominations are] the biggest honour for the country’s entertainment industry.”
While the Academy Award nominations have returned India to the centre of the cinematic stage for the first time since 1982, when “Gandhi” was in the running for 11 awards, this time around not all of the attention has been appreciated. In India, “Slumdog Millionare” has provoked protests from slum dwellers, arguments among actual millionaires and middling box office receipts.