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India raises a toast to Oscar winners

Special Correspondent

The awards to the three Indians is a recognition of their incredible talent: Pratibha


A recognition of their vast talent: Manmohan

They have done India proud, says Sonia


NEW DELHI: ‘Jai Ho’ – the song that put music director A.R. Rahman among the Oscars – was the greeting of the day on Monday as India rejoiced over the eight awards bagged by the trans-national film Slumdog Millionaire. And, India’s cup of joy brimmed over with another film based on an Indian story Smile Pinki walking away with the Oscar for ‘Documentary Short.’

President Pratibha Patil led the nation in toasting the success of the Slumdog Millionaire team. The awards to the three Indians — Gulzar, Rahman and Resul Pookutty — is a recognition of their incredible talent at one of the highest levels by their peers, the President noted in her message which also made special mention of Smile Pinki.

In his message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the creative genius of the Oscar winners from India. “The achievement of the creative teams of Slumdog Millionaire and Smile Pinki is a recognition of their vast talent. Their achievement is a tribute to the Indian film industry which is a reservoir of multi-disciplinary talent which the medium of cinema embraces.”

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said the conferment of these awards is a resounding statement of India’s ascendance in the world of quality entertainment. Congratulating the two teams, he said: “I am confident these achievements by our creative legends will inspire the talented youth of the country to realise its infinite potential and prove its mettle globally.”

Delighted by the Indian presence among the awards, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Gulzar, Rahman and Pookutty had done India proud as have all the Indian actors, technicians and support staff who participated in the making of Slumdog Millionaire. “They represent the finest traditions of our film industry and are an inspiration to all of us,” she said, extending her greetings to the producer and director of the film also.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has sent separate letters of felicitation to the three Indian winners. In his letters, the Minister described the recognition as a richly deserved milestone in their artistic journey. He has also sent a congratulatory letter to Vikas Swarup, India’s Deputy High Commissioner at Pretoria in South Africa, for his best-selling debut novel Q&A from which Slumdog Millionaire has been adapted.

Congratulating the teams of the two films, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Anand Sharma described this as the finest hour of Indian cinema in the global scenario. For the Bharatiya Janata Party, spokesman Prakash Javdekar said this was a proud day for India; particularly the children of the Dharavi slum who were part of the Slumdog Millionaire team.

For its part, the Congress sought to place the Oscars that came India’s way as part of a larger sense of achievement that the country has been feeling since its government came to power at the Centre. Though Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi sought to clarify that the party was not taking credit for the success at the Oscars, he said: “We are proud that in the conducive environment of good governance by the United Progressive Alliance with special emphasis on inclusiveness, we have been an achieving India.”

Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Mittal said the global acclaim for Slumdog Millionaire mirrors the growth story of India. “This signals the arrival of India on the world entertainment stage,” he said, particularly pleased with the two Oscars bagged by Rahman who composed the signature tune for his mobile service, Airtel.

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