"Slumdog" Tops Golden Globes

Jason Singer
Mar 23, 2010

The people of Mumbai finally have something to smile about.

For the past six weeks, India's largest city has been slowly recovering from terrorist attacks in late November that wreaked horror on its people.

One hundred and seventy three people died. More than 300 others were injured.

But last night, for at least a little while, those people had something to cheer, as 'Slumdog Millionaire' won Best Picture at the Golden Globe Awards, as well as three other major honors.

"I know they're partying over in India tonight," said Christian Colson, the movie's producer, while accepting the top trophy."

I'll be honest: "Slumdog Millionaire" wasn't my favorite movie of the year. It probably wasn't even in my top five.

But you can't help but root for the underdog.

"Slumdog" is like the 2006 New Orleans Saints football team, which lifted up The Big Easy after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.

It's like the 1971 Marshall football team, which helped a grieving university overcome the tragedy of a plane crash.

Sometimes, in the face of unspeakable horrors, little things can go a long way toward healing a community.

I suspect "Slumdog Millionaire" has done that for Mumbai.

"There's an army of people celebrating in India right now," said director Danny Boyle last night.

"Slumdog" doesn't even open in India until Friday. But the $14 million film-that-could has touched the lives of so many.

I have a friend who visited Mumbai several weeks ago. He said after the film was nominated for four major awards -- all of which it won last night -- that's all newspapers, radio stations and people on the street talked about.

He asked a doctor, with whom he was working, why he waited two hours in line to get tickets for an advanced screening.

"Because that's all my family's been talking about," he said.

"Slumdog" is a distraction for the people of Mumbai -- something to look forward to.

It's a light in their lives which were consumed by darkness in those gruesome days at the end of November.

So while I would usually reserve this space on the day after the Golden Globes for criticizing the Hollywood Foreign Press for making an incorrect decision, today I will instead just applaud the headlining movie that deserves everything given to it.

To make a movie for American audiences, partly in Hindi, about a country and topic that most Americans don't care about was quite a risk.

But for the people of Mumbai, the reward was bigger than the filmmakers could have ever known.

"They have this expression, which I hope I pronounce correctly, in Hindi, which is when you do something, you should do it from the heart," Boyle said last night. "The film was made from the heart, and we never expected to be here, and it's incredible that we are."

His sincerity could be understood in both Los Angeles and Mumbai, regardless of the language.

That's what makes "Slumdog" one of this year's best.

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