January 25th, 2009
11:22 PM ET

Starstruck "Slumdogs" at the SAG Awards

Wow, there's just no denying "Slumdog Millionaire!" I'm happily eating crow after predicting a big win for "Milk" (see previous blog post). These are heady times for the Best Cast in a Motion Picture winners.

After doing a little dance backstage, Dev Patel told us that it was a surreal experience walking down the red carpet and seeing Kate Winslet. "Titanic" was one of the first movies he really loved, and he was blown away that she recognized him. She wasn't the only star who did.

Patel: "I just couldn't believe it. They know who we are." Anil Kapoor, who plays the treacherous host of the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in the film, had his sights on another big star on the red carpet: Angelina Jolie.

He implored his co-star Irrfan Khan (who appeared with Jolie in "A Mighty Heart") to introduce him. "Don't be a shy American," he implored, "act like an Indian!" Khan did, and Kapoor delightfully made her acquaintance.

But beyond the famous faces they're seeing, it's clear that what the "Slumdog Millionaire" cast values more is the effect its success is having on India and its film industry.

Kapoor: "This is what India needed. We needed a platform for more films to be shot in India."

On a lighter note, he said he heard from Regis Philbin, who hosted the original American version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Kapoor said Regis joked that he wished "he could have been as nasty to his contestants."

It's full speed to the Oscars, now, and if these guys tell you it's just a thrill to be nominated, believe them.

"We were in Mumbai and Danny, Dev, and Freida (Pinto) were there," Kapoor recollects, "When it was was nominated for Oscars, Dev started dancing and getting excited. [Director] Danny [Boyle] had tears in his eyes. Danny said, 'We premiere in Mumbai, and we hear the Oscar nominations were announced.' We couldn't feel it - we were completely numb."


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soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. A R Rahman

    This is art at its highest level. A story of hope presented in an unconventional package. I can see how it would throw some people off. That in itself is the genius behind it.

    As far the moron going on about child actors being ignored by Indians? WTF. You know of the 8 Oscars won NOT one was for best actor. This was an ensemble piece and not about individual performance...

    Case in point, I am Indian and I thought all the actors especially the children were exceptional. Is that better?

    February 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Emeka Mandey

    Saw the movie a few days ago with all the talk leading up to the oscars.Honestly,the younger Jamal and Salim should be encouraged to take up a career in acting.Those kids are good.Hope they'll be there at the oscars tonight

    February 22, 2009 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. sharon

    I have read a number of different comments on different blogs about Slumdog, which I found to be a very compelling film on a number of different levels.

    There are lots of people who are upset that the movie plays up stereotypes and is exploitive in some ways. Slumdog is bound to portray stereotypes... I would argue that all films do that ... but I would not agree that it is exploitive any more than most films are. What Slumdog did do well is show those of us in the insulated west a glimpse (if not a wholly accurate glimpse) of what true poverty looks like...

    That may be embarrassing to some, but it seems 'real'. That is what I responded to and why I took my 15 year old son back to view the film. I agree that the young children stole the show, as did, in my opinion, the soundtrack, but the true reason it has been so successful, I think, is the story.

    February 2, 2009 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jared

    The children of Slumdog Millionaire aren't being neglected. They actually have set up finances for all of the child actors so they are able to attend schools most Indian children do not get to attend to...

    February 2, 2009 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. tracy

    I have read that these wonderful children were taken directly from the slums and cast in this movie. And yes I to think they were the true stars. But to ship them off to Hollywood is nuts. The fact that thet are in school now ( which by the way they have been temporarily taken out of because of all the press following them)is the best thing that could have happened. It it also my understanding that Danny Boyle has set up a trust for each child and when they reach the age of 18 and stay in school they will get a enough money to possibly change there life. To me thats betyter than any oscar will get them.

    February 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MJRose

    Sure, the adult cast may have mentioned the little children at the awards, but truly, that is not enough. The little ones should also have been up there on stage and equally experience the excitement, limelight, and see the big picture. It would probably have more of an impact on their dreams and goals than for the adults.

    January 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Relax

    I read the article about the kids in the movie, and realise that they still in slummy conditions. I am sorry.

    January 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    Amen, to Cindy Walker! This flick, though not necessarily without its merits, is FAR over-hyped. Hollywood did the same thing with "Sideways" a few years back. I went to see "Slumdog..." last week and thought "You've got to be kidding me..."

    January 29, 2009 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Eva Templin

    Ditto on the child stars, they made the movie what it is, the rest of the cast was boring!

    January 29, 2009 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shrujal

    At first when I read some comments, I thought the blog was authored by an individual named Kiran. Then I figured Kiran was actually the first person who commented. It's amazing that the following 38 folks have been predominantly commenting on Kiran's view.

    In any case, I personally thought that the movie was well made. I'm not sure if it was as great as they made it out to be, but I can totally understand the westerners taking pleasure in enjoying the 'real' India if you will...

    January 29, 2009 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kunal

    The cast of Slumdog Millionaire – and to be specific Anil Kapoor and Freida Pinto – both spoke after receiving the SAG awards. And, both of them recognized all the child actors. Freida, actually announced each of their names. Anil mentioned that these awards belong to thise kids.

    If someone really wants to verify what they are doing for these kids; you should feel free to take the time and go visit the actual slums where these kids live.

    I too wish that they could've brought these kids for the awards; but you must also think about practical difficulties – of getting passports, US visa etc. Let's hope they do bring these kids with them for the OSCAR Awards.

    I would agree to the fact that – whatever we do for the poor population in India – it will never be enough – so, keep doing more & more on a continuous basis. People have tendency to forget. Please feel free to visit organizations such as "Aid India" – http://www.aidindia.org and Change – Parivartan – http://www.parivartansanstha.org

    January 28, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ann

    As others have commented, no one involved in making the film has denied or diminished the contributions of the child actors. And by the way, if the kids were shipped off the US award shows, the same crictics would have accused the studio and director of exploiting them for commercial gain. These children are now studying in school (thanks to Danny and the crew) and that is where they should be instead of at award shows or doing publicity rounds for the film.

    January 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kiran

    FYI "Relax"-

    The kids in the movie WERE taken directly from the slums. Rather than belittling the people on here who are making comments, you might want to look at the illigetimacy of your own remarks.

    And no, I'm not the ignorant Kiran who made the very first comment on this blog.

    January 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Relax

    Everyone, take a deep breath and realax. It was just a movie and like any movie, doesn't represent an entire nation, it's people etc. Also to all the blogger who think the child actors really live in the slums, you sound like idiots. It is true that there are homeless kids in India that live in poverty, the kids in the movie are not the 'real slumdogs'. You guys are idiots!!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lynn

    The children were thanked whole heartedly for their work on this movie at the SAG Awards. I don't know the actors but one gentleman could not stop thanking them and said this movie could never have been made without them. I'm sure they did not want to parade these children to Hollywood for overexposure.

    January 28, 2009 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  16. Tony

    I think the movie just shows what India is about since it was written by someone that live that life style. If the people of india are upset then they should work on their country proverty as the US is depicted as bad guys. So If your own people make this movie you should talk with them not complain to the world.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  17. udai

    From what I heard from Frieda Pinto and Ellen show, these kids now have a trust fund that would take care of them and they are off the streets and hopefully have a better future. That is better than a few days of accolades or recognition. Nobody would remember them after these award ceremonies anyway.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  18. A D Enstossa

    I urge people to see the film ,I almost didn't and certainly would have regretted it if I hadn't. It is a pleasant blend of American style filmmaking in the India Genre and works quite well as a popular american film.The underlaying poverty of India is portrayed in a gentle manner yet allowing us to understand what we have to be grateful for in the US.

    January 28, 2009 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  19. Naveen

    Kiran if you watched the SAG awards you would have known that Anil Kapoor and Frida Pinto in their acceptance speechs thanked and named all the six kids that played the three roles of Jamal, Salim and Latika of the lead charachters. Frida even named them to specifically thank them

    Check your statements before making them.

    January 27, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  20. jen

    I agree 100% with kiran, the young cast did a phenominal job & they should be appreciated!

    January 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  21. rscott

    Kiran I totally disagree. The children were fantastic in the movie but they were essentially children being children. Dev Patel's performance was the heart and soul of the movie to me.

    January 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Neel

    Dear Kiran, the awards process concerning both nominations and victories has utterly nothing to do with the country in which a film is shot. As I read your post, I became increasingly unsure as to whether it was the malevolent attempt by someone to misconstrue the issue or whether it was actually written by a person so incredibly stupid that they for some reason seem to think that the country of India (I am laughing even as I type this) has something to do with which members of the cast attends the golden globes or the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It does not. For the record I have seen the movie multiple times and think that the performances by the child actors were superb, but I actually think that Anil Kapoor gave the best performance in the film, even though it was Patel who scored a nomination. If you have no idea of how these things work, please refrain from commenting on them or making sweeping attacks on peoples or nations.

    January 27, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mimi Y. Gyaltong

    I sincerely hope the younger casts, especially the one who played the youngest "Jamal," will be given the opportunity to attend the Academy Awards. That little boy, "Jamal" was NOT "acting" – he was terrific, simply awesome, and so real. He deserves an award & deserves to get on the stage for acknowledgement. All those young kids brought the story alive, the movie so moving. Those little kids should be given a fair chance. Equally important, I hope they were paid as well as the adults did!

    January 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Brian

    Wow! How can you go from making a comment on a handful of people to condemning a whole nation? It amazes me how some people can make the leap. Maybe someone needs to be reminded that this is show business – where only the stars make the red carpet. Reality has no place at these lavish functions. Did the other stars bring all the technicians and supporting actors with them to the awards?

    Please don’t make impolite comments. Opportunists are everywhere so India is no different from any other country. Same goes for ignorance.

    January 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  25. sunayana yadav

    I thought the first half of the movie was brilliant, all thanks to the child artists, Rahmans music and Boyle's execution. Its sad that the little one's have not been given their share of publicity or praise. I dont really understand why Freida Pinto is being projected as the face of the movie when she was barely there...bat an eyelid and you miss her on screen!!! However Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor deserve all the applause and praise .I loved Anil's performance and I think he should host the show in real life too. Overall a fantastic movie which keeps you enthralled right till the end.

    January 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Sam

    I would like to see cnn do a special on a segment on slum kids in india...considering how much hype there is around the movie. The movie is good because it shows without editing the real plight of indian kids in the slums. A good documentry from cnn would seal the deal

    January 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Ginger

    Kiran, if you had watched the SAG awards, you would have seen Frieda Pinto on stage, when the ensemble cast award was presented, specifically recognize on all of the children who played her and Dev Patel's characters, by name. The children were not ignored.

    January 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Marbs84

    Ah dude, did you even see the show? The cast, Anil Kapoor and Frieda thanked the kids who played Salin, Latika and Jamal. Anil Kapoor said this is for all the kids that were in the movie and that because of them, they made them better. Frieda named each child who played them. So before you go off, maybe you should know what really happened.

    January 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Get Real

    Kiran, you may have missed the fact that there haven't been any individual actor awards for this movie, but instead it has been identified as having the best cast – a fact that I agree with. The film was very effective, not just as commerical entertainment, but also in making us in the west a little more aware of what life on the streets is like in India.

    The second thing, Kiran, is that the film was made by a British director and a western film company. It isn't Bollywood – therefore, how could your comment about india being a "ingorant country of opportunists" be right?

    January 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Roberta Patel

    If you had actually watched the SAG awards you would have seen that the actors did nothing but acknowledge the children during their acceptance speech and the fact that they (the child cast) made this movie and that it would have been nothing without those kids.

    Please get your facts right before you start making accusations and generalizing about an entire country!

    January 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Shampa

    I totally agree with Kiran and thats exactly how I reacted when actors like Kapoor, Dev and Pinto (whose role was negligible) walked the red carpet. They talked big about the movie and how it reflects their sentiments, well they should have got atleast got the three main child actors along with them. These kids are still playing in the slums, ignorant of how much interest 'their work' has generated.

    January 27, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  32. meghna

    There is no denying that the children did a wonderful job in the movie. Infact, I agree that they are the real stars of the show! However, I am not sure if young children would be allowed to participate in award shows such as the GGs, SAGs or even the Oscars!
    The children did do a great job, and have received much praise and accolades. But please dont take away the joy of the success that this movie has become from the other actors and the director. This is a materpiece. Indians everywhere are proud of this movie, and the star cast all across the board.

    January 27, 2009 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  33. Kalyan

    I completely agree with you Kiran. The child artists are the once who made the film worth watching for their acting. The producers of the film, who made lot of profits with this movie, should have some sense to bring the kids to Awards ceremonies. Kids are present on screen for almost 2/3 of the film time and they deserve the full credit for the movie fit, not the Patel & Frieda. Frieda has no real role in the move to prove her talent and she did nothing extraordinary in the film to collect the awards on behalf of the film caste. Instead of paying her the flight tickets, the producers or co-stars should bring the kids to these awards.

    Please grow up Gentlemen and give the credit to the real caste of the film. I wish to see these Kids at the Oscars.

    January 27, 2009 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  34. Soni

    Slumdog millionaire has won nominations for Oscars.It film was shot in Mumbai-India.A decade ago Mira Nair also produced and directed a similiar film called "Salaam bombay" shot in Mumbai and about Mumbai slums and it was instant hit too!What's so special about Mumbai's Slums?Well it may be a from Rags to rich fantassy that the world has fascination for,or the world is tired of too much galmour in films and wants to see a more humane and realistic drama!

    http://starvice.blogspot.com

    January 27, 2009 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  35. Cindy Walker

    I don't understand how everyone is loving this movie. My friend and I walked out of it after only 45 horrifying minutes. I didn't pay $7.00 to watch young children being tortured.

    January 27, 2009 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  36. michaelmmiller

    It definitely seems like Slumdog is on it's way to an Oscar win. Danny Boyle is an amazing director, so it would definitely be merited. I'm still disappointed that "The Reader" stole a spot from "The Dark Knight" or "Wall-E," but I suppose I shall recover...

    Michael Miller
    http://www.popcultureminute.wordpress.com

    January 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Rashid

    I agree with Kiran,none of the Limelighters,Dev Patel,Anil Kapoor,Frieda Pinto or Irfan Khan or David Boyle would be getting any awards without the spectacular acting by those young slum kids who did better acting than any of these professionals.There is no mention or credit being given to the true heroes and heroine of the Slumdog Millionaire.It is almost like Sweat shop labour,they can be Ignored.
    It is almost disgusting,the real SLUMDOGS are getting IGNORED.

    January 26, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  38. NISHA

    Well I am kind of agree with Kiran because same questions came in my mind that how come kids who played brilliantly acted are not getting recognitions. But one more point I notice that Anil Kapoor is also biggest star of my country but in the real sense he was also not getting importance than Freida Pinto Who is she?? On FOX11 knows today they have invited Frieda Pinto not Anil. They are saying that he is big star in India But after this movie he is also one if the biggest you may say hollywood star

    January 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  39. person

    I hope non-indians understand that not all of India is poor and slummish.

    January 26, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Rei

    I agree with Kiran. As much as I enjoyed watching the elder actors demonstrate how corruptive sociopolitical forces affect the plights of these characters, I do feel that the younger actors in the film have not been given their 'just desserts.' Ideally, there would be a cultural forum that honors the achievements of acclaimed young actors and actresses, such as the kids featured in 'Slumdog', but more often than not, their names slip into the abyss of the unnamed artists. Hopefully, Celador Films, and their own hometowns will offer some kind of celebration honoring the artistic gifts that these children have offered to the greater volume of international cinema.

    January 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Kiran

    Hmm.. Isn't it the people here in the U.S. who chose the nominees/winners for all of these awards? And in case you were unaware, the director is Danny Boyle (NOT from India), it was produced by Christian Colson (also NOT from India) and is classified as a British drama film that was distributed by Fox and Warner Bros. While I agree that it would have been nice to see the children at the awards shows, before you go blaming Indians and accusing them of being "ignorant" and "opportunists", maybe you should do a little more research to get your facts straight.

    (And yes, unfortunately we share the same name).

    January 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Roena

    What is most remarkable is that this film has been recognized as the true gem that it is. This is truly a breakthrough moment in American cinema when such performances from a country so different from ours can win while competing with icons in the movie industry. The children in the film were acknowledged in the acceptance speech and more importantly, perhaps this movie can bring attention to the plight of such children in India.

    January 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  43. maryam

    This is so stupid – Although being a 'good' movie it wasn't and isn't in the league of being awarded the Best Picture category in any of these award shows. It has great cinematography, music and the storyline is great but the Best Picture??? Definetly Not!!!! I guess every once in a while, these award shows have to go crazy and play up the underdog!

    January 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  44. John Molina

    That's because historically, child actors had given terrific performances. Many an adult actor will not work with them because they are still at an age where they are devoid of self–unlike the adult actor. Great child performances–the two kids in A Man and a Woman (1966); Little Omar in The Battle of Algiers (1967); the girl in Sprit of the Beehive (1973) and more recently, the girl in Pan's Laberinth.

    January 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  45. varsha

    kiran, i don't think anybody ignored the child actors, Anil Kapoor and Frieda both made a point of dedicating the award to the kids. you shld watch the awards/speeches before making comments.

    January 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  46. sean

    wow.

    January 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Niamh

    Kiran, that statement is just about the most ignorant thing you could say. The ENSEMBLE cast won an award – ensemble means all of them. Not just the adult actors. Clearly you've seen the movie, so you know the movie gave them all equal billing – or did you not bother to watch the credits?
    No one is denying the contributions of the younger actors. What a shame you feel you have to deny the contributions of the older ones.
    Congratulations to THE ENTIRE CAST of Slumdog Millionaire.

    January 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Jat2007

    I agree w/ kiran.

    I felt that Dev Patel was very stoic throughout the movie. Perhaps his character was written to be this way, but I don't feel that much talent can be exhibited in a character that has a poker face 80% of the time he is front of the camera (and he is only shot 20% at most). Honestly, his character had a dumb-founded look on his face and occasionally cried out for his love a few times and kissed her. That was the extent of the acting.

    The kid actors had the more difficult jobs of portraying much richer and complex characters. The scenes at the orphanage are a perfect example, as well as the hilarious scene where the little one jumps into the bottom of the outhouse to get an autograph.

    January 26, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  49. kiran

    It is sooo sad to see that the child cast of slumdog is being ignored when they were the ones who did everything for this movie.. the movie became what it is because of those children... if you have seen the movie, you know its true and they are the ones who deserve to attend award ceremonies and not frieda and dev who did little or nothing performance wise.. I would NEVER EVER.. want to see those adults winning any performance awards because they did not do anything.. it was the younger cast,... I wish Indians had enough sense of fairness and justice to tecognize the contributions of the young cast and brought them along on award ceremonies.. its sad to see that in a country that cliams to be a democracy,. small children are denied of their fair chance at receiving accolades simply because they are young and cannot speak for themselves... I think they should sue the director and producer along with adult cast for ignoring their work when they did everything to make this movie a success...
    I can now see that India is really an ignorant country of opportunists!!

    January 26, 2009 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |

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