Monday, February 23, 2009
The "Slumdog" Reality
Finally, it happened. The day for which we were all waiting for so long. "Slumdog Millionaire" bags eight Academy (Oscar) awards out of the nine categories it was nominated in (In one category, two nominations were there making it a total of ten nominations). So, where is the big deal? The Oscars are given every year. But for India, it was a big deal. Out of the eight awards, three were bagged by Indian people. The Music Maestro AR Rahman got two (Original Song and Original Socre) and Resul Pookutty bagged the other one (Sound Mixing). And it is further a big deal because until now only two other Indians are able to win an Oscar each in the entire history.
But my point today is not related to Oscars at all. The relation is just that today, the awards are given, so I came up with an idea to write this post. Recently, and by that I mean, soon after its release world wide and gaining recognition in various Film festivals, many accusations were observed throughout the country by different people, celebrities and journalists. The whole point of their accusation was related to the portrayal of Indian society and culture, the condition of the people residing here, and all the illicit activities that take place at every corner of the suburban streets as well as in posh cities.
The likes of Amitabh Bachchan were seen quoting that they are "ashamed" of what has been shown, and it sends a very wrong signal to the world, about India as a whole. Another gentleman from the film critics' family, Mr. Rensil D' Souza of rediff.com exclaimed and disregarded the film as a regular flick and advised people to avoid it because it "misleads" the public. Mr. Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, a representative of a slum-dwellers' welfare group, filed a defamation lawsuit against the film producers, alleging that slum-dwellers were depicted in a bad light which would be a violation of their human rights. These are some of the objections of which I know. There are more.
Now to these people, I would like to suggest something. Those who think that it was misleading should take a day off and take a visit to the largest slum of Asia, the Dharavi. And there they will find the exact "picture". And believe me, it is lot worse than it is shown in the movie.
Those who think that India is a secular country with people of all religions has the liberty to live a free and fearless life should visit the minority colonies of Ahemdabad which were burnt down in the 2002 riots.
Those who think that street children and beggars are a mess and are a waste for the society read this link: http://fuehrer-pratyush.blogspot.com/2008/10/boot-polish.html.
And lastly, those who have not read the book "Q and A" by the Indian diplomat Mr. Vikas Swarup and on which Slumdog Millionaire is based, I would suggest you to please read it and then you'll find harsher realities about the "slums" and the "slumdogs". You will find out some incidents like a father raping his own daughter or a priest molesting young boys or a young boy dying of rabies without proper medical attention or a family forcing their most beautiful daughter into prostitution as a part of community ritual. All of these incidences were "thankfully" not shown in the film otherwise they would have banned it from screening in India.
The point for me to prove is that the reality is to come out in any way, and if it chooses to come out in this way, we are all for it. Stop accusing of what the film maker showed and what he did not show, or what he should show. Start working in a direction which helps eliminate all these things from our society so that when next time a foreigner decides to make a film on India, he is automatically forced to show what you want.
Comments are invited.