Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire a winner

I love February in Port Elizabeth as all the cinema complexes show the Oscar contenders that normally blow right through the Windy City. Those that do stay only lurk for a week normally so if you snooze, you lose.
However, when a film wins an Academy Award, they usually stay for a bit longer and I am so looking forward to seeing the film version of Q&A, which won South Africa’s Boeke prize in 2007. This quirky paperback about a destitute street-kid in Mumbai certainly was one of my favourite books from that year.
The Indian author, Vikas Swarup, who is his country’s deputy high commissioner to South Africa, went on to write Six Suspects and he still is living here.
“I wanted to show that knowledge is not the preserve of the educated elite and that even a 'street-kid' can possess the wisdom to win a quiz show,” said Swarup in an interview about what inspired him to write Q&A.
That is just so relevant in South Africa, where we also have so many street kids and a huge divide between rich and poor.
The photos I’ve posted are of Rubiana Ali, the actress who portrayed young "Latika" and Freida Pinto, who plays her as an adult. Funnily enough, none of the cast won an Academy Award.
The second photograph is of Rubiana’s neighbours in Mumbai shown celebrating after they heard of the film’s Oscar success.
The novel had its detractors who called it contrived and unrealistic. I found it funny, though, tender and tragic and a thoroughly engrossing read. Now with eight Oscars, I can hardly wait to see Slumdog Millionaire ...

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