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The problem with Slumdog

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This is not a review - I haven't seen the movie yet and probably won't ever. But given the brouhaha in the media about the movie, I know enough about the plot and the 'artistic appeal' of the movie, to write a blog post on it - or so I think :-P. 


I am not one of those nationalists who feel offended because it shows slums, niether am I against realism. About the much touted scene where the protagonist, Jamal "jumps into a pile of shit just so he can run and get an autograph of his beloved Amitabhji" [link], I agree with MF Hussain (quoted from HT Cafe) when he says that it depicts our lives metaphorically that while our lives are draped in shit, we escape from reality through movies (ala entertainment, ala glamour).

And reality must be shown - I regard Black Friday as one of the best movies ever seen. And why should we shy away form the fact that India has slums - well I would rather say proudly that we are ready to march ahead inspite of slums and in due course address the problem. I don't care what image a movie potrays of India; guess our economic prowess speaks much louder today (than what it did in the era of Shotyajit Ray). And even if it does not - most Indians today have gone past that point where we need a seal of approval from Americans or Britons about their way of life.

The only problem with this movie is that it NOT about reality! Poverty is only a garb of reality under which the movie essentially is no different than the mushy 'so-called-escapist' bollywood cinema. Slumdog is a fantasy - may be for the denizens of the developed world; but fantasy it is. 

I mean, come-on, a slum kid coming out of poverty by winning a quiz show - is this not fantasy? More so, it is fantasy because poverty has been glamourized by capturing the 'excitement' in it. Realism would have been the story of a kid who survives amidst odds, studies or excels in sports and makes it big. And it is not that such stories are not available; check out this news story for instance.

This is my objection to Slumdog - yes Rehman's music is great and the movie has earned an entry into the Oscars - but I think this movie is as good or as bad as any other bollywood masala movie and so I'd rather watch a Billu - an original Bollywood masala than Slumdog Crorepati.

Update: Why do I have to feel apologetic that I did not like slumdog millionaire

1 Comments to " The problem with Slumdog "

  1. I think you should go see it. In spite of everything you read, it's a very enjoyable movie...

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