Slumming for fame:
Amid the noise created by media hype and unending national euphoria that surrounds a film-Slumdog Millionaire ( SM for short), it is difficult to make a dissenting note heard…at the risk of being dubbed a party pooper!
But then we will have to put things in the right perspective now, don’t we?
First off, this is a film and that’s what it should stay. A Film… It’s neither a certificate on Indian artistic glory nor a national indictment. I believe those are the two extreme opinions.
It is just a good British film, at that…
And it is a British film with ‘Indian artistes’ in it, who were in fact well–paid for their work ..Nothing to do with poverty as far as their paycheck was concerned!
( How we should detest this derogatory reference-“Dogs” to impoverished humans living pathetically in Indian slums! And we take offence at the slightest mention of ‘barber’ in another Indian film…Mind you in the ‘Billu’ case, they called barbers as ‘barbers’,( one would imagine there’s nothing really hurtful there..
I mean, what will I call a Bus conductor or milkman next?)
In SM, the slum dwellers were dubbed as akin to ‘dogs’… …It’s crude and hurtful regardless of how they live!…BTW, its not a legit word in any known dictionary either….So there!
Speaking for the movie itself, I could not find anything hurtful or artificial in it….Oh, yes, the pain and harsh realities are bloody real and they should stay that way too…
Although some of the scenes were excessively crude, even brutal, too close to reality and sometimes yes, revolting…But then, that’s fine…. Artistic freedom and all that… Can you really blame Amitabh for dumping this movie when they have the cheek to show that he mechanically signed autograph to a faeces–covered boy during an outdoor location? Yuck!
But then sure, anyone can like or dislike any film for any reason ,at all!
We had some brush with Oscars, what with genuine Indian–made films in the past like Lagaan and TZP and we never won then..THAT was actually our loss much like this is NOT our gain!
All it got us in its sweep was a couple of Oscars to the musical genius of AR Rahman who has actually in the past decade given several superior hits in Tamil and Hindi than this oh-so-average number like “Jai Ho!”…Anyway good for him…
And good show by Pookutty too!
What however is not healthy in this entire scenario is the way they created this kind of ill-placed media hysteria and hijacked public opinion into believing as if INDIA as a nation passed muster in the eyes of global gods of art… just now, I mean…
‘India’ as a haven of artistic talent was never in question there, and nor does it need Oscars to redeem it.
It beats me to think how this one film could open floodgates of opportunities to Indian artistes to secure the ultimate prize –the Hollywood..
Precisely because they do not make these kinds of films by the dozens there…
If you read the NY times headlines, they called the Oscars-a “Slumdog kind of night” over there….Make whatever of it, if you please…
I say again , it is a good British film about India…I mean the India , the director chose to see and portray…Like it or dump it!
But it is not an ‘Indian film’ which won the award and that should be understood by the insensitive Maharashtra Govt which is now promising home to the slumdogs!
…..Oh sorry, not to every slum-dweller, only to those two or three kids who acted in the movie!
So make what you can of it, too!
Congress in a news item today claimed that it had a ‘hand’ ( pun unintended) in Oscar victory too and I saw on TV that in Bangalore , the Cong men took out a procession hailing the film’s victory claiming something ‘momentous happened in global arena today for us’… How ridiculous can we get!
The nastiest and silliest I heard on TV was that India’s presence was heightened after 26/11 and the ‘world’ felt they should honour and console India thus…So…
Can we then assume the martyrs of the Mumbai tragedy, those brave heroes will now get posthumous movie tickets to SM… ?
I rest my case…