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Indian Movies' Oscar Wins, Spark Rush of National Pride


India is celebrating victories of two home-grown movies at the 81st Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 22. A film about a six-year-old village girl with a cleft lip picked up the Oscar for best short documentary.

But it is Slumdog Millionaire's eight Oscars, including best picture, that garnered most of the attention in India and in the slum where the movie was filmed.

In Dharavi, the Mumbai slum where the rags-to-riches story Slumdog Millionaire was set and filmed, residents cheered around television screens. The film won eight Oscars at the Academy Awards in the U.S. Some people broke into Bollywood-type dance numbers in the streets.

The family of Rubina, the actress who plays the role of young "Latika," celebrated too. Neighbors, playmates and family shared their happiness. Rafique is Rubina's father says, "All of us will go to receive her at the airport when she comes back. We will ensure a proper welcome and we will play the drums aloud," he said.

The heart of the film Slumdog Millionaire -- about a boy from an Indian slum -- is set in Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. Some of the child actors came from the neighborhood.

In Dharavi, the father of one of the actors, Isamil, joined in celebration. "The fact that a poor man's child has made such a name for himself, that's what makes me most happy," he said.

On one night, at least, there was revelry on this Mumbai street even as Hollywood partied.

"We are very happy, we are also celebrating just like they are celebrating there," Mounuddin, a Dharavi resident. "They are rich, their way of celebrating would be different and we shall celebrate different."

Indeed, the celebrations in Hollywood continued after the Academy Awards ceremony. Many of the winners headed to the official governor's ball, considered the "official" post-Oscars party, sponsored by the Academy. Slumdug director Danny Boyle was there, as well as some of the movie's actors.

Some of the young cast members had traveled far from the slums of Mumbai to Hollywood for the awards ceremony.

Slumdog Millionaire won best picture at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California. In all, the film won top honors in eight categories, and the recipients included British and Indian citizens.

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