The Bollywood masala homage, Slumdog Millionaire, received ten Oscar nominations today, including one for best picture. It’s an excellent movie, if one forgives the entertainment world’s plot device of having a game show take place live, when in fact virtually all of them are taped.
And where there’s success, there’s those who try to hijack it for their own publicity stunt. Such is the case of Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, who is suing two Indians associated with the movie, A R Rahman and actor Anil Kapoor, claiming that the use of the word “slumdog” is defamatory to Mumbai slumdwellers, and will get a court hearing on February 5. (Kapoor uses the word in the movie.) I know not Indian defamation and free speech law–this strikes me as the sort of issue Salman Rushdie had with people who did not grok the concept of “fiction”–but until this case is dismissed, let us hope Vishwakarma does not get a hold of Huckleberry Finn. (AFP, “Slumdog stars sued for defaming slum-dwellers”, Jan. 22).