Toronto film festival award goes to … 'Slumdog Millionaire'

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TORONTO: Audiences at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival picked Briton Danny Boyle s Slumdog Millionaire for this year s best picture, organizers said Saturday.

The film follows a poor boy s rise to fortune as an unlikely contestant on an Indian version of the hit television game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, with the eccentricities of life in Mumbai s slums as a backdrop.

Boyle ( Shallow Grave, 1994, and Trainspotting, 1996) cast London-born actor Dev Patel as the orphan Jamal, who is just one question away from winning a whopping 20 million rupees when he is arrested on suspicion of cheating.

Originally, Boyle said he had hoped for an all Bollywood cast, but that failed because the local Indian actors didn t look enough like losers for the main role of poor Jamal.

It s a great underdog story, he explained. In Bollywood if you want to be a young actor breaking into the system, you have to go to the gym for six hours a day to bulk up. I needed a very average-looking guy.

Bollywood megastar Anil Kapoor, appearing in his first English-language role, and newcomer Freida Pinto also star in the film scripted by Simon Beaufoy ( The Full Monty ) and inspired by Vikas Swarup s novel Q & A.

The Cadillac People s Choice Award is voted on by Festival audiences, and comes with a $15,000 prize. The Toronto film festival does not award jury prizes. – AFP

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