Swarup Hopes for an Oscar Invite for 'Slumdog Millionaire'


New Delhi, Jan 3: Vikas Swarup is a happy man now that the film adaptation of his debut novel 'Q and A' has turned into a international success and hopes to get an invite to the Oscars if 'Slumdog Millionaire' gets nominated. Directed by Danny Boyle the film adaptation has been a winner at all award functions that lead up to the Oscars and is already being billed as the big winner in Oscars this year.

The diplomat turned writer, whose debut novel 'Q and A' had received rave reviews and has already been translated into 36 languages, now hopes to get an invite to the mother of all award ceremonies, the Academy award gala. "If Slumdog Millionaire gets nominated and if they invite me, I will attend the Academies, certainly," Vikas Swarup told PTI in an e-mail interview.

The much touted movie has set a precedent for films based in the Indian milieu, with it's realistic look at the underbelly of Mumbai through the eyes of a young slum-dweller of Dharavi.

The author also revealed that he was approached by 'half the directors' in Bollywood for a Hindi film adaptation but it finally went to Boyle. "I was approached by half the directors in Bollywood for the Hindi film adaptation, but Film 4 had optioned the global rights a year before the book even came out. They then decided to approach Danny Boyle to direct the film. Danny liked the screenplay and agreed to take on the project," says Swarup.

BBC has already obtained the rights for Vikas's second book 'Six Suspects' published in July 2008 to be made as a television series. The writer says he had never planned his books to be adapted for the visual medium.

"You can never plan for these things. But yes, many people told me they found my books to be very visual. Perhaps this, together with the fact that it was a unique concept, led to the film adaptation."

Swarup who is a diplomat by profession seems to be a person who takes success lightly. His debut novel 'Q & A' has created an unprecedented wave across the world and the feature adaptation is being touted as the next big winner at the Oscars. But the author still claims that the accolades haven't changed him a bit.

"The success of the book has not changed me, but maybe it has changed peoples perception of me. Earlier I was known as a diplomat, now increasingly as a writer. I personally prefer to call myself a diplomat who writes."

The writer who says that he is still amazed by the international success of his first book, adds that despite travelling the world over he wrote a book based in his homeland because it was the place he was connected to the most.

"As they say, you write best about what you know best. I know India best. Even though I have lived outside India I have always felt connected to my country. Plus there is a new hunger in the world for stories about India."

His protagonist in 'Q and A' is curiously named 'Ram Mohammed Thomas'.

"I wanted my protagonist to represent each and every street kid in India. Hence I gave him this all encompassing name. Ram Mohammad Thomas, in a sense, transcends religion and caste - he is an everyman, an embodiment of the microcosm of India," the author says.

The book had also set itself apart by refraining from using themes like Karma in it's narrative, which are a constant fixation in many boks by Indian authors.

"My hero is an eighteen year old waiter living in Asias biggest slum in Dharavi. His life perforce had to pass through the bars and 'chawls' of India. He would be working as a servant here, a waiter there. Hence there was no scope for any karma-dharma exotica."

The author also said that his surprise at the international acceptance of his first book was doubled by the fact that he perceived the book to be very 'Indian'.

"I thought it was a very "Indian" book and only readers in India would be able to relate to it. But I guess it has appealed to readers across the world because the themes and the emotions evoked are universal and the underlying message is a simple one - of creating your own luck, of the underdog beating the odds and winning!" says Swarup.


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Title: Swarup Hopes for an Oscar Invite for 'Slumdog Millionaire'

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