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'Slumdog's' Mumbai premiere a celebration

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  • Cast and crew celebrate Mumbai premiere of "Slumdog Millionaire"
  • Film nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture
  • Some in India critical of film's subject matter
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MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- In the U.S., the film "Slumdog Millionaire" barely escaped going straight to video before it caught the eye of moviegoers and critics alike, becoming a sleeper hit and best picture nominee. It's viewed by many observers as the film to beat at the 81st annual Academy Awards.

Danny Boyle, left, celebrates with actor Anil Kapoor, right, at the Mumbai premiere of "Slumdog Millionaire."

Danny Boyle, left, celebrates with actor Anil Kapoor, right, at the Mumbai premiere of "Slumdog Millionaire."

In the city where the movie was shot, Mumbai, India, the recognition came much quicker and more enthusiastically.

The Mumbai premiere had all the makings of a scene from a Bollywood blockbuster: Musicians banged on traditional Indian drums as the cast and crew broke into dance on the red carpet in recognition of the 10 Academy Award nominations the film received Thursday.

"It feels like a million nominations," said director Danny Boyle, who earned one of the nominations. Video Watch scenes from the Mumbai premiere »

Bollywood legend Anil Kapoor, who stars as the host of the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in the movie, said he was with Boyle when the nominations were announced. "Danny had tears in his eyes, and I couldn't control myself," Kapoor said. Video Watch Kapoor rave about the film »

But not everyone was celebrating.

The film, about a Mumbai orphan seeking fame and love through the "Millionaire" game show, has stirred strong emotions among some Indian critics. They found the word "slumdog" in the title insulting and complained that the movie romanticizes poverty in India.

Film critic Meenakshi Shedde said she was disappointed with the movie. "What saddened me and annoyed me about the film is that it's a laundry list of India's miseries," she said. "The poverty, the child labor, the beggary, the prostitution, that part of it was just banal, I thought."

According to the Press Trust of India, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan -- who once hosted the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- recently cleared the air with Boyle regarding Bachchan's reported criticism of the Golden Globe-winning film.

Such negativity was forgotten at the Mumbai premiere, which was attended by several Bollywood celebrities. They said the event marked a proud day for Indian cinema.

Loveleen Tandan, who was the film's casting director, said the entire cast was exhilarated by news of the Academy Award nominations.


As for her whether she believed "Slumdog Millionaire" had a chance at the Oscars, she expressed confidence.

"Now I can say it openly, I have high hopes," she said. "I am sure there's a statue waiting for A.R. Rahman [who composed the film's music and received three nominations] to bring home."

CNN's Mallika Kapur contributed to this report.

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