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Mumbai Slum Residents Protest "Slumdog Millionaire's" Name

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MUMBAI, India — India's film industry celebrated Thursday as "Slumdog Millionaire" lived up to its rags-to-riches theme with 10 Oscar nominations, though impoverished protesters complained its title was insulting.

The film, set amid the poverty of Mumbai's notorious slums, continued its surprise run of success since it swept four categories at the Golden Globes, including the prize for best drama.

The film got the second highest number of nominations, including best director for Danny Boyle, best picture and two of the three song slots.

"To win so many nominations is unbelievable and for two Indians to be in the nominations is a great news. We absolutely never imagined this," said Anil Kapoor, one of the film's stars, speaking before the Indian premiere.

"We are really, really emotional today. All of us just can't stop hugging each other," he said.

The joy wasn't felt by some, however, as about two dozen slum residents protested the film outside Kapoor's Mumbai home saying the title of the movie was an insult.

"I am poor, but don't call me slumdog," said Rekha Dhamji, 18. "I don't want to be referred to as a dog."

Other protesters held up banners reading "Poverty For Sale" and "I am not a dog."

Nicholas Almeida, a social activist who organized the protest, said he planned to file a lawsuit Friday to get the film's name changed.

"Slumdog Millionaire" tells the story of Jamal Malik, a poor youth who becomes the champion of India's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" television program as he searches for his lost love.

On Wednesday the cast and director spoke to the media in New Delhi about the film, and the controversy it has sparked.

"The film is going to be a terrific inspiration to kids around India. It's a feel-good film, a film of hope," said Kapoor, who grew up in a Mumbai slum.

He dismissed claims that the word "slumdog" was offensive. "Children from the slums are actually called much worse names."

Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy said people should not read too much into the word. "I just made up the word. I liked the idea. I didn't mean to offend anyone," he said.

The film was also nominated for best adapted screenplay, cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing and film editing.

Composer A.R. Rahman, who snagged nominations for best original score and two of his songs, said it was good to bring Indian music to the rest of the world.

"There is a wealth of music and rhythm in India. People outside have noticed it a bit late. But they have noticed it," he told the Headlines Today news channel.

"I am grateful to God and all the people of India. I want to enjoy this moment," he said.