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The Rediff Interview
'Kate Winslet said I looked great'
February 24, 2009
India cannot stop beaming. Slumdog Millionaire's [Images] incredible haul at the 81 Academy Awards has got everyone talking. Whether it was A R Rahman's two Oscars or Resul Pookutty's win for Sound Editing, India has fallen head over heels with the Slumdog team including the kids who play young Jamal, Salim and Latika.
In fact, we caught up with Tanvi Ganesh [Images] Lonkar [she plays Latika in the second segment of the film] on the telephone [she is still in the US] to speak about her whole Oscar experience. Sounding tired after Monday's hectic event, Tanvi nevertheless was more than happy to oblige us. Over to Tanvi.
We all left for the US on February 20 by British Airways. When we landed in Los Angeles, people recognised us. They even took out autographs and posed for photographs with us. The whole atmosphere was festive. We got the VIP treatment.
From there, the Fox Searchlight people took us for a dress trial as my dress needed a few alterations. After that we were taken to our hotel room. We were put up at the Inter Continental Hotel. As soon as we reached our rooms, we ordered dinner. Soon after we went to bed.
Next morning we went to Universal Studios where we got to see so many things. It was fun. We saw how accidents were filmed and stuff like that. But the most superb ones were the Mummy and the Jurassic Park [Images] rides. I just loved the Jurassic Park ride. It was awesome.
They also showed us few sets that were constructed at the studios. We spent almost a day there. From there we returned to our hotel to change for the Fox Searchlight party. I wore a dress in brown and blue with flower print that I got from Mumbai [Images]. The party was only for the Slumdog Millionaire cast. It was at the dinning hall that we finally met Danny Boyle [Images] [director]. Dev Patel [Images] and Freida Pinto [Images] joined us later. We were served Chinese food. After dinner we returned to the hotel and retired for the day.
I couldn't sleep much as the next day was the D-Day. I was very anxious and nervous all the time. The next day dawned clear and bright. By noon Sonia Lee, my make-up lady came to do up my face. I was ready by 1.30. I then joined the other kids in a limousine. We were supposed to go on the red carpet at 3 pm. We were there for half an hour. From there we went to the Kodak theatre for the photo shoot.
I met many people at the Oscars, some of them I did not know very well. But I remember Angelina Jolie [Images]. She came us and said that all of us had done a great job. Everybody was brilliant in the movie, she told us. Kate Winslet [Images] said I looked great. I met Brad Pitt [Images] too but I did not speak to him.
The Oscars began at 5 pm and went on till 8 pm. At times I was bored as I don't understand too much of Hollywood films. But still it was fun. I was seated on the fifth balcony of the auditorium along with the other kids. Each time the word Slumdog was called, we would start screaming at the top of our voices out of joy.
When we bagged the first award for Best Adapted Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, it felt like things had started for us now. And then Resul Pookutty won. There was this huge sense of achievement. But nothing compared to the time A R Rahman won two awards. We were screaming ourselves hoarse. I don't remember what exactly we were yelling. But it was the greatest thing.
Though we won eight out of the ten nominations, the biggest high for me was when A R Rahman performed at the Oscar stage. It was the greatest moment for me. I felt that India has truly arrived at the Oscars now. A R Rahman looked so sweet on the stage. I just loved him. I congratulated him personally later.
Just before Slumdog Millionaire was declared Best Film, we were called on the ground floor. It set me thinking that we had won or else why would they call us downstairs. When our names were called out, I along with the other cast and crew went on stage. Everybody started crying. All the kids were crying. Freida was holding back as the tears would have spoiled her make-up. But I could see that she was overwhelmed too.
After that we had people lining up to take our autographs and to click our photgraphs. After the awards ceremony, we had to attend three parties. We first attended the one at Governor's Hall. I did not meet anyone there. We had a table for the Slumdog team. I ate a little bit as I don't like the food over there. From there, we went to the Fox Searchlight party where I met my father for the first time that evening. He did not attend the Oscars. By the time we reached the Oscars' party, there were only a few people left. I reached home by 1:30 am.
I woke up the next morning at 10 am. I went with all the other kids to Disney Land. My father accompanied me. So did all the kids' parents. Freida and Dev were not there from among the cast but Madhur Mittal did come with us. I enjoyed all the rides. It was fun. People were asking for my autograph. I reached my hotel room at 9:30 pm.
Tomorrow we have a get-together at eleven in the morning with Fox Searchlight people. After that we are going to the beach. And after that I will do some shopping. We leave for Mumbai tomorrow.
For me the greatest high is that I got to come to Los Angeles and attend the Oscars. What more can I ask for?
As told to Patcy N