Washington, June 11 (IANS): The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has dismissed as "unprecedented and preposterous" Indian music composer Ismail Darbar's charge that AR Rahman "bought" his Oscars for "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2009.
"It is not unusual for an individual to express the view that Academy members selected the wrong recipient for a particular award, but to charge that a win was achieved by underhanded means is unprecedented and preposterous," the Oscar panel stated on Friday. "We are not familiar with Ismail Darbar or with the evidence, if any has been offered, on which he is basing his assertion that AR Rahman received his Academy Awards through bribery of 'Academy officials'," Academy publicist Teni Melidonian said in an e-mail to IANS.
"When we first became aware of the charge last week we regarded it as too ludicrous to require an official comment," she said. "For the record, voting for the Academy Awards is conducted under such stringently controlled conditions that it would simply not be possible for an 'Academy official', even if he or she were inclined to do so, to set aside the vote of the artists who make up the organization's membership," the panel said.
"Darbar is evidently not aware that the ballots for both music categories are handled and processed directly by the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers," it said.
The envelopes containing the winning achievements are prepared by two executives of that firm and never leave their custody until they are opened onstage in full view of the world, the statement noted.
In 2009, Rahman did India proud by winning two Oscars - for the best original score for "Slumdog Millionaire" as well as for the best original song "Jai ho" for the same movie. But according to an Indian media report Darbar said: "I just don't understand how the music for that movie ('Slumdog Millionaire') won the prestigious award.
"What was Oscar-worthy about it? Nothing. I would have been happy, had he won it for films like 'Roja' or 'Bombay'. He did not deserve it. And, I know that it has been bought," Darbar was quoted as saying.