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Slumdog millionaire - Oscar for Rahman or Doyle?

Indians take vicarious pleasure in the triumphs of "mainstream" pictures with an Indian connection -- the seven Oscars won by Richard Attenborough's Gandhi in 1983, for instance, or the success of The Sixth Sense, written and directed by a Philadelphian of Indian descent, Manoj Night Shyamalan.

For the first time, Indian citizens are in contention for two of the golden statuettes -- for best song and for A.R. Rahman's musical score. Directed by England's Danny Boyle (Trainspotting), and based on the page-turning novel Q and A by Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup, the film has captured the hearts of audiences and critics around the world with its tale of a child from the slums, a tea-boy in a call-centre who wins a TV quiz show modelled on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Exuberant, exciting, gaudy and gritty in a way that can only be called Dickensian, Slumdog Millionaire brings contemporary Mumbai to life from the seamy side up, and it does so with brio, compassion and all-round cinematic excellence.

Is the "Slumdog millionaire" Indian story based movie an unlikely Oscar contender?

If Slumdog Millionaire follows its four Golden Globes and Screen Actors' Guild awards, and seven Bafta awards (the British Oscars) with an Academy Award or three, most Indians are bound to celebrate. And, if some of the larger-than-expected profits are directed towards the slums where the movie was made, the protesters are quite likely to fade away. What they want, after all, is a share of the glory.

Good luck to the "Slumdog Millionaire" crew.

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