Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Slumdog Millionaire

Last time when I posted, I thought that I would be more regular with my blog but then again if everything goes according to thoughts, I would have been a millionaire by now. Well, I am writing this out of utter disgust, shock, frustration and pure unadulterated hatred which is directed at the entire cast and crew of the movie “slumdog millionaire” which I happened to watch the other day. I would rate this is the second worst movie that I have watched where India has been degraded (the first one being Indiana Jones and the Temple of the doom)

Well, the Movie starts off with Jamal (the male protagonist) being tortured in police custody because they feel he has cheated in the famous game show, “who wants to be a millionaire”. Jamal had answered all the questions right and has won 10 million .The story then moves in a flashback cum present mode where in Jamal takes us through his life from his childhood (which was spent in a Mumbai slum) and then as a chaiwalah in an Indian call centre .

I am just sick and tired of the west stereotyping India and Indians in particular. I am not really sad because the movie depicted Indian poverty and more importantly the slums because I am not averse to the fact that 40 % of india’s population is below the poverty line (10 years back , it was 60%). Though we have improved ,40% is still unacceptable But there is more to India than poverty The movie potrays Mumbai slums , portrays hindu muslim riots , portrays prostitution , portrays absolute cruel and inhuman torture towards kids and more importantly portrays western superiority and strengthens the” third world concept.”

The movie is an adaptation of a novel “Q &A”(unfortunately written by an Indian ;Vikas swarup ,forgive me If got the name wrong , I just searched once as I dint feel the author deserves any more time and dedication from my end ).We have Anil Kapor , Irfan Khan , Devpatel , Freida or some Pinto(dunno ) and as the main cast for the movie And A R Rahman for the music (Oscar nominations for him , right ! if AR Picks up a lottery now , he might just win it !)

Am I being an Image conscious Indian who conveniently wants to hide the reality under the carpet ? Because many say that that is what reality in India is , poverty and slums .Yes I am being Image conscious because there is more to India than poverty and slums . How can you generalize people living in slums are eye plucking , girl selling , killing machines ?Slums In India are improving . Even the Mumbai slums (Dharavi) where the movie is picturized ,people are being linked to factories nearby and they are earning their livelihood . Even the Director has admitted in one of his interviews regarding the same .The movie portrays, the only job women do in slums is prostitution !! come on if this is not stereotyping , then what else is ??

In one scene , there’s this kid who is acting as a tourist guide for an American couple . This kid gets beaten up by some goons and with all blood in his face , he tells the American couple “Do you want to see the real India ? Here it is “ and then The American replies “ Son , let me show you the Real America and hands out a $100 note in the kid’s hands “. I found this scene to be absolutely offensive , abusive , Sarcastic , stereotypical ,pathetic and completely uncalled for .

The fact that the movie has been nominated for the Oscars is beyond depressing. I strongly believe that these kinds of movies will have an adverse impact on NRI’s and their children . It would be difficult especially for Indian children abroad as they will be an object of ridicule .Children can be cruel at times and I can imagine indian children in the west being being nick named and even teased as “Slumdogs “ . Some say that there is nothing bad /insulting about the title .All I would say is if you are teased and if you are called as a “slumdog”you will not like it .You can say that it’s a work of fiction and “just a movie ,“ but “just a movie” can change perceptions .

Having said all this , The fact that saddens me is how can Indians be part of this movie ?How can they be proud of being associated with this movie ?Leave the director , I mean, he will not have any emotional attachments (and he need not necessarily have it ) I can also understand his point in taking a subject like this which would be walloped by the western audience .But how can Anil kappor , Irfan Khan , A R Rahman be part of this movie ?All of them being such eminent personalities and ambassadors of Indian cinema ! Isint there something called as moral responsibility ? or is it only money ? or is it that being part of a Hollywood movie so tempting that they can compromise on their morals ?Anil Kappor and A R in one of their interviews stated that it is just a “rags to riches “ story of an 18 year old boy and that they have no regrets in being part of that movie .I can understand if any small time Indian actor or musician being part of this garbage , but for someone as big and famous as the people mentioned above , you have to question their priorities .As insignificant as my post may be , as little traffic that my blog gets ;I have lost all respect for the Indians involved in this movie and I will never ever watch movies of Anil Kappor and Irfan Khan and will never ever buy CD’s or listen to songs composed by AR .