Reactions to Slumdog Millionaire in India as well as among Indians in USA has been very diverse. SOme people are very upset about the movies, while others are ecstatic. For example in an article author says:

Make no mistake, I love my country potholes, corruption hell holes and all, Oscar or no Oscar. But the Slumdog debate creates a stink of a different kind. One of low tolerance for things harsh and real. Appears to me that some of us would rather see the happy-ending movies with crappy humor and not be reminded of the graver issues that exist. Are we upset that the film does not provide yet another entertaining escape from the travails of our daily life? Perhaps.

Today at one Indian Party in San Diego, the topic was the same and reactions of people were same — why do they have to show the negative side of India? — to — It was a great movie.

I find it amusing that people make a normal movie a matter of patriotism or of ‘represnting India’. I believe that India is much more than slums or the TajMahal. Like most countries — particularly large and old countries, then have many perspectives and many ‘personalities’. If the discussion is unrealistic, then debate could be about fact or fiction. But if people ask ‘why the underbelly’ — then they have already agreed that the depiction is realistic so there is no discussion. HOw a director views a real situation and depicts it in his storytelling is his business and will determine how good is his story. In this case, at least a group decided that the story is great — so to me — the debate ends there.

But then everybody is entitled to their opinions and if some people want to get upset about such things, they have as much right to be upset as those who are happy about it.

8 thoughts on “Slumdog

  1. Pingback: Topics about Humoristic and Funny stuff » Archive » Slumdog

  2. Priya

    I remember reading an article in Readers Digest a long, long while back, where the reporter talks about the time he was stationed in Kazakhstan. People knew him as ‘the guy from the country of Awara’, Awara being the old Hindi movie. Whenever he mentioned his wife, the locals asked him if all Indian women were as beautiful as Nargis. They would get friendly with him just to ask more about Raj Kapoor. And this was in the ’80s.. decades after Awara ceased playing in Indian theaters.
    A movie is more than just a flick. For someone in Macau, Slumdog might be the only thing that gives her an idea of what India is. Why, even some lonely old man in Kent would probably trust Slumdog more than his well-to-do Indian-origin neighbors in getting an idea of ‘the real India’.
    People will probably not say ‘Oh, it’s just a movie… real India must be something different’, especially since the movie has won critical and commercial acclaim from everywhere, including from India and Indians…. being hailed as it is as a victory for all India and Indians.
    And this is where a movie ceases being just a form of entertainment. It also serves as a vehicle of information. And this is where filmmakers have a responsibility to depict the truth or insert a disclaimer.
    The problem with slumdog is that it errs even in its depiction of the underbelly. It takes random incidents which happen in india and connects them in such a way that neither the context nor the whole picture is clear to the movie-goer, who gets the idea that India is a vile place to live in.
    For instance, it never happens in India that a talk show host would look down upon a poor man on national television… if only for the sake of being politically correct. Infact, people are honoured more if they rise from the lower strata to the upper in India. This is just one instance where Mr. Boyle twists facts to suit the needs of his movie… there are more.
    And given the reach of such a critically acclaimed movie, and that a movie is not just a movie but something more, people should talk about patriotism or ‘representing india’ in the context of Slumdog.

  3. neil jain

    Could some of the negative reactions that people at the party had be driven by a sense of not wanting to accept the truth? In that the country is everything that the person you quoted said it is.

    I know this is the case in Singapore. I’ve heard people sit on both fences of Slumdog. It’s what happens when a profound movie hits the big screens about social issues.

  4. Ramesh Post author

    @Priya: I understand your sentiments, but have different perspective. No movies, or book, or any work created by a person can cover all aspects of a society. The famous Indian story of an elephant and six blind men depicts the same fact. So expecting that every person will think the same in a given situation is trying to say that everybody should see the way I see the world. Unfortunately that will never happen.

    For people like us who care for India, we should understand that identifying problems (by any body Indian or not) and understanding them is the first step in fixing the problem. If we don;t accept it, then we are sayiong we don;t have a problem so we don;t need any solution. This is what Nani Palkhiwala expressed in his book ‘We the People’.

  5. Fris Arvz

    Speaking of movie, watchmen (the movie) is a boring one…
    Im not saying that the story is not so good, but the way they interpret it in movie is really boring.

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