Bollywood-style celebrations for "Slumdog" Oscar haul

Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:11pm EST
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Bollywood met Hollywood for real on Monday as Mumbai slum dwellers celebrated the triumph of "Slumdog Millionaire," clapping, whooping and dancing like Indian film stars after the rags-to-riches romance swept Oscar gold.

"Slumdog," an often dark but ultimately hopeful tale about a poor Indian boy who competes for love and money on a TV game show, won eight awards including best picture and best director.

The film, shot in the teeming shantytowns of Mumbai, cast several children who live in the city's Garib Nagar slum, and who were flown to Los Angeles to attend the awards ceremony.

"I'm so happy that my daughter has won this award and I could see her on stage with such big stars," said Muni Qureshi, mother of 8-year-old Rubina Ali, who played the leading lady, Latika, as a young child.

Ali and the rest of her family live in a tiny, ramshackle home with no running water.

Friends and relatives packed into the one-room house, which is already crowded by a bed and a cupboard, to watch the ceremony on the family's only visible sign of wealth -- a large flat-screen television.

Nearby, neighbors also gathered outside the makeshift home of Azharuddin Ismail, who played the young Salim in the film. His shack is covered only in tarpaulin, and a small television was placed on a stool in the street for people to watch the awards.

"The fact that a poor man's child has made such a name for himself, that's what makes me most happy," his father Mohammed Ismail said.   Continued...

<p>Rubina Ali, who acted as the young Latika in the film "Slumdog Millionaire", looks at herself in a mirror at her uncle's residence in a slum in Mumbai February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta</p>