Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Bollywood star criticises Slumdog

Amitabh Bachchan
Mr Bachchan is India's best-known actor

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan has criticised award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire for projecting India as the "third world dirty underbelly".

The film, made by British director Danny Boyle, has swept the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards.

A rags-to-riches tale of an improbable winner of game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the film is based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup's book.

Slumdog Millionaire is also a favourite to win at the Oscars.

The film has been nominated in 11 categories for next month's British Academy Film Awards, including best film, best British film and best director.

Best-known actor

Mr Bachchan had played the very popular host of Kaun Banega Crorepati - Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

"If SM (Slumdog Millionaire) projects India as [a] Third World dirty underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations," Mr Bachchan wrote in his blog.

"It's just that the SM idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative [Golden] Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not."

Slumdog Millionaire opens in India next week.

Mr Bachchan is India's best-known actor and has a massive fan following at home and among the diaspora the world over.

The actor's career spans almost 40 years. He has acted in more than 140 movies.

He starred in the legendary Hindi movie Sholay and hosted the first three seasons of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

His show enjoyed tremendous popularity with viewers and, according to reports, at the time of the telecast, the streets were deserted and fewer people went out to cinemas.

Bachchan topped a 1999 BBC News website poll to find the greatest star of the millennium, beating the likes of Marlon Brando and Charlie Chaplin.

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