Slumdog Millionare. Ah!
Talk of tinsel town, Mumbai’s dirty underbelly, Winner of 4 Golden Globes, Oscar potential, Danny Boyle, Amitabh Bachchan. What else? Yes, dirty shit, ugly trash, child prostitution, bogus orphanages, black money, anti-Muslim riots, organized crime, underworld, mafia, real India and a racist, abusive Kaun Banega Crorepati host to top it all! Mr. Boyle should have just blown the kid up in a terrorist strike to keep up to the film’s compulsive and streamlined portrayal of what India is and isn’t. It would have made for some climax.
My God, can any ordinary human being survive in India with this kind of exploitative, abusive, terrifying atrocities committed on its people day in and day out? Yuck, my respect for India is down in the dust and I have decided that I will pester any one willing to be pestered, to get me out of this hell. Starting with the passport office, of course. And then the embassy. And then finally off to a new country.
No. Wait. I’m right here. Sure there are problems but I seem to see a lot of people smiling around me, living a happy life with a blossoming family, enjoying with friends, working for a decent wager in the Third World. Sure I’m not a “slumdog” but even slum children will not be facing up to the over-hyped, over-the-top atrocities depicted in SM that only ONE single child faces. Escapist? No. Realistic? No. Realistic escapism? Hell yes.
Whenever a reality check is undertaken, then it is very wise to not lose track of the core concept of such a check - reality itself. Because depiction of in-your-face hard-nosed reality is one thing and blowing reality out of proportion to portray all the “evils” of India at one go is another. And Slumdog Millionaire has conveniently opted for the latter at the expense of the former and hence feeding on India’s magnified sorrows has given the movie Oh-my-God applause that it doesn’t really deserve.
Thank you Mr. Boyle. Next time, we expect better. Or at least a package that is nigh closer to reality than perennially escapist Bollywood. And Slumdog Millionaire.
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