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Slumdog million neighbors

Obviously the movie Slumdog Millionaire has been creating quite a stir, with Oscar buzz and all sorts of awards already in the bag. It has been the center of some controversy here in India as well.

There have been protests centering around its name (people holding signs that cry “I Am Not A Dog”) and angry editorials about how it does nothing more than perpetuate the stereotype of India as a dirty, poor, perpetually-stuck-in-the-third-world country (sometimes called “Poverty Porn”).

Others have railed against the movie being termed an Indian film, as all of the people eligible for and winning awards are members of the British production crew rather than the Indian cast.

Street HomesPopular response in India itself has been rather tepid, with the common explanation running along the lines of “We live here and know what things are like. We go to movies to escape all of that for a few hours with some silly love, conflict, songs, and dances. Why would we spend our time revisiting that which we see every day? That’s not how we want to spend our hard-earned rupees.”

But all that hullabaloo is not what I’m writing about – nor is it the fact that here in Mumbai we are actually neighbors to millions of people like those portrayed in the movie: rich, destitute, and everywhere in between. No, this entry is about an actual cast member of the Slumdog Millionaire family: Opera Singer #2 in fact.

There is a scene where the stars of the film are running around during an opera in Agra, stealing from the audience members. What I’ve gleaned from the internet is that the opera itself is a recording from “Orphée et Eurydice” by Gluck called “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” and sung by the Swedish tenor, Nicolai Gedda. The interesting part is that the person lip-syncing it in the movie is actually our across-the-hall neighbor: Tom Lehmkuhl!

Tom LehmkuhlHe and his wife lived in Delhi for 4 years and just moved to Mumbai this summer. They have the cutest little baby that Breck loves to entertain, and they often bring her with them to the Kiara rooftop to enjoy the sunset and a cold beverage or two. The parents are both employed at the school, where Tom is the choir teacher (of course).

Apparently he was approached to be in the film in Delhi, but the director wanted to use a specific recording of the music and just wanted someone – who really knew how to sing – to be a stand-in for the voice. The music department of an international school seemed a pretty obvious place to start, so Tom got the job, is in the film, and now has his own little place on IMDb.

Pretty cool, huh? I think now that I know he’s such a big movie star, I’m going to make sure to bum even more beers off of him!

(Credit has to be given where credit is due. Yesterday I noticed that our neighbor Elizabeth was writing an entry for her blog about Tom, so I told her right then and there that I was going to copy her idea. And I did).

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6 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. I don’t get it.

    1. Aunt Nancy on February 19th, 2009 at 9:04 pm
  2. Are you trying to use new features to confuse me?

    2. Aunt Nancy on February 19th, 2009 at 9:06 pm
  3. How many comments do I have to leave to make you turn off this feature?

    3. Aunt Nancy on February 19th, 2009 at 9:06 pm
  4. Because I’m enjoying this. And I just received a message that said I’m sending messages too quickly. It had the nerve to tell me to slow down.

    4. Aunt Nancy on February 19th, 2009 at 9:07 pm
  5. What feature is so confusing, dear?

    5. Dave on February 19th, 2009 at 10:00 pm
  6. That is so cool!
    i watched slumdog millionaire last friday and i almost cried
    wow you live next to the opera singer

    6. Anna on February 23rd, 2009 at 3:24 am

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