Is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ A Proud Moment For Indian Cinema?

Controversies surrounding ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ keep springing up every now and then and it simply refuses to die down. Though the movie has swept various awards including the Oscars, the debate still rages on whether it really was a best movie of the year. Everyone agrees that it had a good storyline about an underdog achieving success against all odds, but it certainly was nothing extraordinary and at least I would not see the movie a second time.

Anyways, my argument is not whether the movie was good, average or best. My reservations are against those Indians, who are claiming the movie to be one of the brightest point in the history of Indian films. Yes, it is a matter of pride that couple of Indians have won the prestigious Oscar awards, but at what cost? In my personal view India has lost much more than it has earned. I really would like to know and understand the logic as to how Slum dog Millionaire has made India proud.

The film ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ is a story about Indian slum kids and their lives and the movie portrays nothing but poverty in India. During pre-independence days the Britishers compared Indians to Dogs and today after almost 6 decades a British film maker compares children living in Indian slums to dogs. The film maker made huge amount of money by showing India in a poor light on an international stage and I fail to understand what the Indians are being happy about or are celebrating about?

The movie does not depict the correct picture of India and only the ugly side of India has been glorified and we Indians are proud about it. What is there to be proud of?

* The children posing as guides at Taj Mahal and cheating the tourists.
* The children working in hotel refills the Mineral water bottle and cheating the customers.
* Pick pocketing, stealing and reselling tourist footwear.
* Grounding a car of a foreign tourist.
* Training and employing the children for street begging.
* Making a child blind to make him an impact beggar.
* Training and pushing young girls into brothel house.
* Children becoming criminals at the age they don’t know what life is.
* Host of the game suspecting the knowledge of a slum boy and trying to mislead the participant.

These are nothing but an ugly and humiliating side of India, that all of us are fighting hard to eradicate. Even Hollywood journalist compared the movie to the Poverty Porn, but we Indians fail to understand this.

Let us all be very clear about one single thing – ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ is not an INDIAN MOVIE, it is a movie made by foreigners about the story of Indians. The only Indian connection is A.R. Rahman.

I completely agree with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s view about the movie which was posted on his blog: “If Slum dog Millionaire projects India as Third World dirty under belly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky under belly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations.” Bachchan also states: “It’s just that the Slum dog Millionaire idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not.”

The whole thing is put into perspective by an another renowned film stalwart Naseeruddin Shah in his interview to Rajeev Masand on CNN IBN: “I enjoyed Slum dog Millionaire but can’t understand why we are all behaving like it is an Indian success story. It’s a Bollywood movie made in English. I don’t enjoy Bollywood movies too much, but I enjoyed this one. It was a different take on the ‘underdog shall triumph’ formula, the feel good formula. I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t see it a second time and I don’t think that it was the best film of the year.”

He further goes on to add: “I mean what’s wrong with us? We are celebrating it as if we have made it, as if we are responsible for it, as if we financed it, as if we made the film possible. We are all behaving in that way. Everybody knows it’s not an Indian film, it’s not been made by an Indian, it never occurred to an Indian to make Slum dog Millionaire, it never occurred to an Indian to make Gandhi either for that matter, but we ran to lap up the accolades when they started coming.”

He also gives his views as to why he is not keen anymore on working with foreign film makers: “It’s not a big deal. The money is a little bigger and that’s about it. Otherwise it’s the same old story. In fact for those who have tasted stardom here it’s even sadder that such people should try and now grab roles in the West because what they are going to get is not what they are going to like, I can promise you. Because you are confined to one tiny little cabin of Indian actor – the maharaja, the cook, the terrorist, the bairar (waiter) and so on. All you will get is anything which requires wearing a turban.”

This really shows what foreign film makers think about us Indian and I am not very proud of it, if anyone is , it is a sad thing. It is high time that we show the world what India is all about?

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