VOLUME 28 NO. 10 | FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 6, 2009

'Slumdog' to launch a new era in Hollywood

Last updated 2-26-09 at 2:48 p.m.
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, left, poses with Rubiana Ali, who portrayed young "Latika," as they arrive at the Governors Ball following the 81st Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 22, in Hollywood, Calif.
Photo by Amy Sancetta, provided by The Associated Press

By Thi-Le Vo
Northwest Asian Weekly

It’s not an everyday occurrence that a movie with an Asian cast wins eight Academy Awards. So when “Slumdog Millionaire” won the best picture prize at the 2009 Academy Awards, it left many Asians ecstatic to have such a well-recognized and highly praised success under their belt.

“Slumdog Millionaire” is about a young Indian man, Jamal Malik, who grew up in the slums of Mumbai and ended up on the Indian game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

He is able to answer all the questions correctly because of his personal experiences. However, it leaves many skeptics to wonder how someone of his background would have the knowledge and aptitude to answer these difficult questions. As a result, he has to justify himself to the skeptics and guide them through his previous journeys in Mumbai.

With the majority of the cast and crew having some sort of Indian background, the movie brought in an Asian perspective. In an interview with ScreenCrave’s Mali Elfman asked the main actor, Dev Patel, whether the movie would be different if it were directed by an Indian.

“I don’t think it mattered,” Patel said. “I think it was good in a way. [Director] Danny [Boyle] didn’t take it as a foreigner’s point of view, and he really got in there deep. All the crew was from India. Everyone was like their own little co-director.”
The star of “Slumdog Millionaire” was born on April 19, 1990, in London, England. He first landed a role in a TV series called “Skins.” Patel also has a passion for Tae Kwon Do; he received the bronze medal at the Tae Kwon Do World Championship.

Accompanying Patel is the 25-year-old female lead, Freida Pinto. In 2006, she started hosting a TV show, “Full Circle,” where she would travel to various countries to showcase unique cultures. She has been a model with Elite Model Management in India and has also been in multiple commercials, on magazine covers, and in print campaigns.

Aside from winning eight notable Oscars last weekend, the film has produced a groundbreaking stance for Asians in the entertainment industry. “This country has changed, from the moment we started making the film to the moment it was released,” producer Christian Colson told The Associated Press. “I think America is cool again, for the first time in my lifetime. … I think this is a symptom of how it’s beginning to embrace a more globalized view of the world.”

Colson is not the only one who believes this film has helped make a positive impact toward the global community.

Joan San, 29, believes that this film is “good exposure for Bollywood films in the U.S.” As the United States begins to accept and praise more movies from Asia and other areas, Americans will be more than likely to adapt to alternative perspectives. (end)

David Germain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thi-Le Vo can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.


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