Civil Rights at the Oscars – Slumdog Millionaire

Movies and music can be powerful reflections of our times, past and present, and tell stories that inform and empower millions of people in ways other media cannot.  This week, we highlight four Oscar-nominated films that have found compelling ways to tell stories about civil and human rights.  The Oscars will be shown on TV this Sunday, February 22.

A film about a young orphan from the slums of Mumbai, India, has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and two of the three nominations for Best Song.

Slumdog Millionaire,” a British film directed by Danny Boyle, is a classic rags-to-riches story about a “chai walla” (tea server) who competes for love and money on “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” India’s version of the television game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

The film follows his life growing up and exposes a dark side of Mumbai, one of India’s most developed cities. The film has been commended for bringing a voice to the slums and touching on issues of poverty, income distribution, corrupt law enforcement officials, prostitution, and religious discrimination. In addition, many of the young actors in the film were recruited from the slums of India.