Celebration of Poverty: Slumdog Millionaire

2008 - slum dog millionaire

Image by CleftClips via Flickr

Due to the excessive media hype and the Oscar nomination frenzy, I was forced to purchase the movie ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ & religiously sat down last weekend to watch the Indian miracle. Although it is a wonderful movie but it is still like any other Indian art movie which portrays the typical Bombay slums and the life therein. Honestly, it’s beyond farce. If I take you down memory lane, you would remember the Indian movie ‘Lagaan’ which also made it to the Oscar charts but why it couldn’t make it. Simple! The British were defeated by the poor Indians in the cricket match. Had they had won the game; this movie would also have met a similar fate like the slum dog. Nice try Aamir Khan and better luck next time.

This time around, the Indians played a smarter game. But who said ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ is an Indian movie anyways. It is every inch a British brainchild except the plot which is made & filmed in some Bombay slum in India and of course with an Indian cast but the Director is none else than a Britisher. Yes, Danny Boyle who apparently has studied the finer details of slum life in Bombay or Mumbai for that matter. India is found gyrating its hips once again and yes Boyle grabbed the opportunity then and there. It may have won eight Oscars; although not a mean achievement by any standards but what I personally felt bad about was the serious faux pas when the young ‘Jamal’ the Chai-Wala (Tea Boy) was shown filling up a mineral water bottle from the tap and then sealing it with elfy (A local adhesive). This would indeed rub the wrong end on all the westerners visiting India. I am sure they will now bring their own ‘Perrier’ from home and the bottled water industry would suffer without doubt.

The older Jamal could have been portrayed by an Indian instead of the British bloke chosen to play the role who sounds more like an Ivy League US graduate instead of a Mumbai slum dweller. Yet, I would still like to congratulate our neighbors and celebrate with them since none of our movies have ever been nominated for the Oscars in 62 years; leave aside winning one. Hats off Bollywood and more power!