Slumdog reviewed by a Mumbaiker

I just saw slumdog millionare last week. The movie in a few ways was enjoyable, the music, the pace, familiar actors ….I did walk out of the theatre however with mixed emotions. Mostly because of multiple stereotypes the movie has played into. India does have a jarring reality. It’s high rate of poverty is an alarming visual to many and no matter how much you have heard of it’s development since 1947, to a tourist that will always raise brows. This movie showcased Mumabi as a place that has corruption, poverty, prostitution, child abuse, guns, stealing …. the list of miseries was endless.

slumdog-millionaire
Especially because this movie has blown up at such an international scale and I am a an Indian living in another country.. I wish that there was a balance. I wish that alongside the spotlight on harsh reality, there was also some portrayal of what makes the country or the city so golden. And that is the heart of the people and how at home and welcome they can make a complete stranger feel. One might say that showing that might not be in the intent and purpose of the story, and I understand…Except… here I am, bearing my emotions on a sleeve. I feel as a local from Mumbai I have a responsibility to inform anyone who might wander into my blog that Danny Boyle’s version of India is not all there is to it. If so inclined please read a bit more about this conundrum at a very well written article called Slumdog paradox.

http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/commentary/data/000108

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One Response to “Slumdog reviewed by a Mumbaiker”

  1. Swapnil Says:

    I saw it for the first time yesterday. I enjoyed it.

    A few rebuttals:

    The film hardly “showcases” the miseries; there is a clear narrative providing excellent reasons to include them in the film. They are central to the plot.

    If there was balance, then it would be a quite different film. That cinema should strive for “balance” is a baseless claim: cinema is not the same as journalism and even there it is debatable whether true objectivity is possible or even desirable (“both sides of genocide”).

    One is not obligated to correct people who are drawing a conclusion that does not follow. Again, you are perhaps conflating cinema and journalism. SM does not claim to document reality (completely).

    In fact, a case could be made that the film will clarify the opposite misconception: India is not full of the kind of Indians who come to the USA and make it in their profession, and even those who do, come from an environment that is vastly different from what one (Americans) might expect.

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