Monday, June 15, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: Some Business facts

Slumdog Millionaire is the Oscar favorite this year. When made the makers did not expect it to become so successful. It started small but gradually got the attention of movie critics all over the world. Here are some interesting facts about the movie.

  • Slumdog Millionaire is adopted from a novel titled novel “Q & A.” It was the first novel of Vikas Swarup.
  • Interestingly, Slumdog Millionaire dealt with India and Indian people but only 20% of the movie dialogues are in Hindi.
  • Famous Indian actor, Amitabh Bachchan, did a cameo in the movie. He gives autograph to young Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar). In real life, Amitabh Bachchan is one of the most successful actors in the history of Hindi cinema and the real host of “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” the Hindi version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He used to host the show in 2000 and 2001. The show was very successful and salvaged Amitabh Bachchan’s career.
  • Even after Oscar, the magic of Slumdog Millionaire has not withered away. The movie gave a major boost to tourism industry in India especially in Mumbai slums.
  • “Jai Ho” one of the several soundtracks that plays in the end of Slumdog Millionaire is composed by famous Indian music composer, A.R. Rahman. He won Oscar in the best original song category. Now, Indian Congress Party bought music rights of the song for about nearly $200,000 they want to use the song in their campaigns for the upcoming general election.
  • Mercedes- Benz asked director Danny Boyle to remove its logo from a scene that took place in slums. The company thought that it would damage the company’s image.
  • After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Bollywood style dancing has become a big craze in America. In Bollywood Rhythms, a dance studio, at the Illinois city of Naperville, west of Chicago, Bollywood style dance has become the top favorite dance class. Bhagya Nagesh, founder of the studio, said that every body who calls the studio wants to know about the dance routine. Even in Australia, Bollywood style dance is gaining popularity.
  • The child artists that were shown in the movie were real life Indian slum dwellers. Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, and Rubiana Ali were born and brought up in Mumbai slums. The success of the movie also brought them huge media attention. Director Danny Boyle arranged a trust fund for the money, these children were supposed to receive for working in the movie. They would receive the money after completing their grade school. The production house of the movie also arranged an auto-rickshaw driver who would take the children to school till they are sixteen years old.
  • The three child actors were flown to Los Angeles to attend the Oscar Ceremony. Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, one of the three child actors was accompanied by his father. Earlier, news came out that parents of these children would not give them permission to attend the ceremony.
  • The Dharavi slum in Mumbai, where part of the Slumdog Millionaire was shot, would be demolished. A 150 billion redevelopment plan is underway that would turn the shanty into upscale landmark. The dwellers will be relocated in small apartments under the re-development plan.
  • Dev Patel, the hero of Slumdog Millionaire and director Danny Boyle would appear in the British version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Though it has not been confirmed yet but Patel and Danny are interested. The money raised through the show would go to a charity organization named Railway Children.
  • Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for Oscars in ten categories and it won eight. The movie won Oscars for best cinematography, best director, best editor, best sound, best original score, best original song, best Picture of the year and best screenplay.
  • Slumdog Millionaire also won Golden Gloves award in the following categories: best director, best motion picture, best original score and best screenplay.
  • Out of the 15 tracks of Slumdog Millionaire, ten were composed by famous Indian music director A.R. Rahman. He finished composition of these songs within twenty days.
  • In the beginning, the producers of Slumdog Millionaire thought that the movie would not make much money. So they went for DVD release instead of theatre release.
  • The children who worked in Slumdog Millionaire were paid slightly above local wages for their works. They worked for thirty days.
  • By March 5, 2009, Slumdog Millionaire collection crossed 200 million dollar mark in worldwide box office. Till now, the movie collected around $217 million. In the immediate weekend after the Oscar Award the movie collected $12 million. The production cost of the movie is $15 million.
  • After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, the novel “Q & A” by Vikas Swarup became very popular. Initially, the novel was not successful but after the huge success of Slumdog Millionaire, people became interested about the novel and the main sign of its success is, pirated versions of the novel being sold by street urchins at traffic lights around Mumbai.
  • A couple in Ireland was motivated to set up an orphanage in India after watching Slumdog Millionaire. Janet and Nelson Thomas-Raja live with their four children at the County Armagh in Portadown. They decided to spend 18 months in south-east India to set up their own orphanage. The couple already adopted one Indian child who lost her parents during the 2004 tsunami. Nelson Thomas-Raja is an Indian. He was born and brought up in Madras.
  • Slumdog Millionaire upset many people. Many Indians thought that it showed a bad image of India to the world. They brought allegations against the movie that it gave a bad image to India. It showed only slums and street kids and poverty. Renowned British journalist, Alice Miles, criticized Slumdog Millionaire for falsely glorifying poverty. She referred Slumdog Millionaire as “Poverty Porn.”
  • Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar went to watch Slumdog Millionaire to his local theatre. He took a rickshaw to watch the movie. In India, chief minister of a province is the highest and most powerful person who usually travels by car and remains surrounded by body guards all the time. However, Nishit Kumar did not follow any of these tradition protocols. He went to Ashok Cinema in Pata by a rickshaw. His security guards followed him on bicycles and some on foot. Around half a dozen politicians accompanied him.

Related articles:


DNA India


Press Association

The Huffington Post

New York Times

Belfast Telegraph

(This entry was originally published in March 2009 and it is based on the context of that time.)

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