New Delhi - Indian gamblers are betting big money on Slumdog Millionaire, the rags-to-riches film set in Mumbai, to win the best picture, best director and best music awards at the upcoming Oscars, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
An estimated 1 billion rupees (20.5 million dollars) was riding on the film in Indian betting circles, The Economic Times said.
The film, which was directed by Briton Danny Boyle and has an Indian cast, has bagged 10 Oscar nominations ahead of the awards presentation February 22 in Los Angeles.
"We are accepting bets for three things - AR Rahman (in the best music category), the movie (in the best picture category) and Danny Boyle (in the best director category)," a Mumbai-based bookmaker told the daily.
Another punter in the western city of Ahmedabad said betting on Slumdog has been gaining momentum after the end Sunday of the one-day cricket series between India and Sri Lanka.
"Bets worth 200 [million] to 300 million rupees [4.12 million to 6.18 million dollars] on Slumdog have been accepted in my circle in the past few days," he said.
Odds for Slumdog winning best film are being offered at 1.53-1, about the same as on international betting websites. Indian bookies have put Boyle at 1.55-1 odds to win and Rahman at 1.25-1, the Times said.
Organized betting is illegal in India, but several betting rackets are run by criminal syndicates. Other than casino and lottery games in some states, legal gambling is limited to betting on horse racing.
Slumdog Millionaire, which has received rave reviews as well as criticism for glamorizing poverty, is based on Q and A, a book by Indian diplomat and writer Vikas Swarup.
The film tells the story of an orphan from Mumbai's slums who makes it to the final of an Indian game show.
The film is considered the frontrunner at the Oscars after it already dominated the Golden Globes while also picking up prizes from the Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America. (dpa)