The Slumdog outbursts continue!

There is a debate going on in one of my friends’ facebook profile.She recently updated her status saying ‘Slumdog Millionaire is a total put off’She felt it projected a very very bad picture of our country.She even felt all those Indians who had been a part of the movie shouldnt have been so.And that instigated an outbursts of sorts from other friends of hers.And the debate went on for a couple of days.
I read a review by Arindam Chaudhry which had been put up in my friend’s profile and this is what he had to say.He has literally crucified the movie.
One of my commenters here too opined that it was a movie that ‘celebrated Indian poverty and general condescending white superiority over the browns’.

I fail to understand why is the film being subjected to so much of negativity?All I ask is would the movie have garnered so much of flak that it is garnering now,had it been made by an Indian director?Arindam Chaudhuri feels the film does not have the sincerity of ‘Salaam Bombay’.Didn’t Salaam Bombay depict the plight of children living on the streets of Bombay?Yet it is being considered as one of the cult movies.Why?Because it was made by Mira Nair?

Slumdog Millionaire was shot in one of the largest slums in the world,Dharavi.So what?It could have been shot anywhere else.It just happened to be shot in Dharavi because the protagonist was a boy who lived in that slum.Its not as if Dharavi was suddenly discovered by Danny Boyle and his team.It is the harsh truth of our country.You cant deny it.None seems to be doing anything to clean up the mess in our country but blabbering on an on about how it is being projected outwardly.I totally agree with what worjunkie says in her post.It is high time we stopped being so self conscious.

Anyway I know its pointless to rant like this.The debate will continue.I liked the movie because it had a novel concept of relating each answer that Jamal,the protagonist,gave to the incidents in his life.It had some excellent music by ARR.It was a simple love story about a boy who takes part in a game show to look for his lover he got separated from.When he does find her,all the movie conveys is hope and positivity.Is that so wrong a message to convey?

What saddens me even more is in the midst of all this futile outbursts,we are overlooking the recognition that our very own A R Rehman,Gulzar andResul Pookutty have got.Being nominated for Oscars is no ordinary feat.Whether they win or no,its to be seen.But they surely have made India conspicuous by their achievements.Let us not take that away from them.

22 thoughts on “The Slumdog outbursts continue!

  1. Thanks for linking to my post.

    Also, you left a comment about reading to the the Imp that I can’t seem to locate on the blog after hitting ‘Publish’ :(…so hope it’s ok if I answer it here.

    We started when she was less than one, and she would lose interest pretty fast too. But by two and a half she could sit through small stories. We also tried different things – made basic paper puppets to use with stories, even drew our own illustrations on a big sheet of paper as we went along. The distraction is pretty normal when the kids are very young.
    I’m terribly kicked someone wants advice from me, BTW. Hope this helps though


  2. Slumdog is a ordinary movie..lot of hype surrounding…ARR has given better music in other movies…the main debate shud be does it deserve an award? if the same movie was produced and directed by an Indian, wud it have got all these awards? i doubt…


  3. I dont understand the previous comment by Sunder, just as I dont understand the arguments about the director been given more acclaim because he is not Indian. Thereby implying that an Indian director directing the same movie would not have been given that much acclaim.
    What has Indianness or NonIndianness got to do with it?
    Apparantly plenty, from what I see and read! I think(entirely my thinking) that its a ridiculous debate really. A movie gets released. Some like it. Some dont. What does nationality have to do with it? It couldve been just another slum in any country really. Indonesia or SriLanka…wherever.The whole point of this argument seems a little over the top really! But then that`s my thinking. I`m entitled to my opinions and freedom of speech I hope. You never know these days, do you πŸ˜‰


  4. On one hand I don’t think SDM is an academy worth movie still the hue and cry about it showing only slums in India is unnecessary. Since when have movies become depiction of truth.

    Mr. Bachchan who criticized the film have done movies like K3G where he lives in a mansion and drops in a helicopter on his roof top. How many in India can do that? What is the reality in that?

    I think we are becoming more negative by each day passing.


  5. @Sunder:I agree with you when you say the movie has been over-hyped.hence all the criticisms.As for the music,yes we need to debate more on whether ARR deserves this award or no than how the film was percieved by Danny Boyle.Now since he has been nominated,I feel we should appreciate that and feel proud of him which we seem to be forgetting to do.

    @Piper:All I meant to ask was if the movie had been made by an Indian and then made it to the oscars,would people like Arindam Chaudhury have still been so critical about it?From the arguements that I had witnessed it had everything to do Indianness and non-Indianness.They were more caught up with how Danny Boyle projected Indian slums or how poverty in India was being glorified.
    As you put it correctly,it could have been any slum for that matter.This time it just happened to be Dharavi.Why cant it be percieved like that?
    I know what you mean…LOL..I had better stop indulging myself in such debates.Who knows I may be the next one,asked to ‘WITHDRAW’ my views!
    GOSH…how pathetic is that isnt it?Freedom of speech and expression only confined to media!!I used to be an ardent admirer of Barkha Dutt as a journalist but I’m not sure I feel the same way now.

    @Solilo:I’m with you when you say we are becoming increasingly negative in our outlook.
    We’re yet to see if the movie will get any awards and I dont think it matters to me either so long as the award is for the Best Director or Best film.I dont consider it as an Indian film as it was made by foriegn filmmakers.But if the award is for the Best Music Score or Song,then I will one of the proudest Indians for sure:))

    @Renu:We have already locked enough horns with each other on this,Renu,havnt we??Have left a comment in your post too.
    Its truce time:))


  6. PIPER,
    You are definetly entitled to have your opinion.
    Yours was an intellectual opinion symbolising this how it should be…
    but practically it is not…
    favouritism is everywhere…on that account , was my hypothetical query…

    On Obama, there is a huge euphoria because he was a Black…Office of president should be occupied by worthy person..if you take that arguement, what difference the colour of skin makes…since in practice white skin is treated above than any colour, there was euphoria on Obama…

    If you follow cricket…Mcgrath, Lee , some south african cricketers do all sorts of things caughton camera and escape with minor punsihment..whereas it isnot the same for Indian cricketers..even a small mistake is reprimanded severally…


  7. Well I just cannot understand all this talk about SM ‘celebrating’ poverty. What the heck were the angry-young-man movies of Bollywood doing?? They portrayed the hero as poor, his sister was inevitably raped, his parents were killed by the rich villains, the hero suffers and vows revenge…this story in its various forms has been repeated ad nauseum in every Bollywood movie. And it is lapped up by everyone. But when a SM is made, it i ‘celebrating’ poverty??!!! And how come no one objects when unbelievable wealth and opulence are shown?? Isn’t that ‘celebrating ‘opulence/wealth’??
    It is really funny when you come to think of it. Aren’t there real children who are leading the same life as depicted in the movies?? So how do you tell their story?? Showing them with glossy make up on and in designer wear in a designer slum??!! Hahha… that is what our Bollywood movies do!! They ‘celebrate’ poverty but with glitter and gloss.
    It is a story of love and hope. How can anyone miss that?? Why do they see only the poverty celebration?? Beats me!!
    Rehman’s music is good. He may have made better music. But this is what got him an Oscar nomination. Way to go ARR!


  8. i agree with what sunder says here! the movie has definitely been overtly hyped! but then, that doesn’t deny the fact that the movie is decently made, with some heartfelt moments and a good background score to boast of! i don’t agree with all this Indian n non-Indian-ness thingy! the fact that the movie is directed by Danny Boyle, gave it a more international exposure… that wouldn’t have been the case had it been any Indian director.. so that is something we cant deny!

    all in all, i liked the movie! n all about the critics n ravings- it just goes on, and on, till they get a new movie to dissect!! πŸ™‚

    Blog rolling you Deeps!! πŸ™‚


  9. Welcome to my blog,Sashu:).Thank you for your kind words.
    I liked the movie too for the simple reason that it was entertaining.You are absolutely right.The critics will just go on an on till they get a new movie to pin down.Its just a matter of time.


  10. I agree with your argument about personal recognition of the actors and musicians involved in the project. But the question is, recognition at whose expense? Western movies that gain recognition seldom talks about poverty, age- old cutomes or plain dirt. It’s always something more profound, something mundane.


  11. But,NM,the western movies have covered issues on racism,AIDS,Homosexuals,etc.which are as prevelant,if not more in their own backyard.Thers Men Of Honour,Philadelphia and so many more like them.
    Have you seen the TV series ’24’?They dont even spare the President of the US from being shown in a bad light in there.And here,leave aside a series,can we even think of having an episode or a movie wherein our PM or President would be shown as a villian?

    All I was saying was we were engaging ourselves in futile discussions when we had so much of positive things to talk about after ARR won the award and nominations.


  12. Well, I finally watched the movie and suprisingly loved it, though I tried not to!! I loved the format it was taken, the cinematography is excellent and the editing superb…Yes, it talks of issues and images that we are familar about..and the story is weak, but still convincing…And the music blends with the movie well…a good watch(But Oscar credits, well, I am not so sure…we have so many better movies, I would vote for a Wednesday, anyday…because it talks about issues and some solutions too…0-


  13. i had the same notions before i watched the movie.. but i just loved it on watching, yes theyshow india, mumabi in a bad light but isnt that exactly how it is.. the slums are indeed that dirty, why make a hue and cry just because a phirang made a movie out of it..
    also, am so proud of AR Rehman!


  14. @Sindhu:You loved it didnt u?I told you so!Yes I agree too that the movie is not oscar worthy.But ARR won a nomination.Now thats something to celeberate isnt it?I hope he wins:)
    @I scribble here:You said it!Why such a hue and cry on something which is the truth?
    And yes,hats off to A R Rehman!!


  15. Not seen the movie, and do not intend to.

    But what is there to be so happy about getting nominated or winning an Oscar..?

    Seems like a little (brown) dog sitting at his (white) master’s feet waiting for that (oscar) bone of appreciation.

    By the way, Maya whatever is a Sri Lankan, not an Indian.


  16. DIM:Just as you typed ‘Maya’,I dont think it would have taken much of your time and energy to type the person’s surname also instead of typing ‘whatever’!
    Anyway thanks for pointing out.Have removed the name of Maya ARULPREGASAM.
    As for your other arguement,the debate will go on and it will never reach a consensus.I am entitled to my opinions just like you are. Period.


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