Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Slumdog fraternity

The alacrity with which our media and Bollywood have come out to embrace “Slumdog Millionaire” as one of their own, after it has won four Golden Globe awards, somewhat irritates me.

No, I have nothing against the film. In fact, I have not even watched it. And from what I hear and see about it, I would surely not be disappointed once I do (although the book by Vikas Swarup was hopeless, as one of my friends insists).

The film is said to boast of superb direction by Danny Boyle, a fabulous musical score by AR Rahman (congratulations for the award!) and some very decent acting by Irrfan, Anil Kapoor, Dev Patel and others. All great individual efforts worthy of applause.

But it has to be clearly understood that the Indian connection and context, over which our media is going gaga, is purely incidental.

A film is essentially a director’s medium, his vision which unfolds on to the screen. I am sure that the story telling abilities of a director of the caliber of Danny Boyle is not limited by the locale or the back-drop, and it is entirely to his credit that he has utilized the Indian backdrop so effectively.

Notwithstanding, therefore, the well-deserved praise for the craft of this film (I presume), it would do well for us not to rush in to falsely appropriate claims which are not due to us, like we did with Kalpana Chawla, Bobby Jindal etc. We surely have enough other genuinely Indian things to be proud of.


Anonymous said...

Our apologetic self has for long kept us the way we are today - third world in every way.

It is only about having the calibre to be a part of the world fraternity.

On the channels they said one thing - Anil Kapoor was pleased and did nothing to hide it! That is what we want.

Why should we not claim fame, due or not can be discussed later - but some people made it worth mentioning the name of our country is that not laudable?

:)- or should we wait till the whole staff fromt the spot boy to the director is of Indian blood and origin to make a mark - they were part of a big thing and that is important because they could have well spoilt it if they were not of the desired talent and calibre, see?

Anonymous said...

Hey, another thing - the real sign of having arrived is to blend into the international fraternity and not hold a separate show like a tribal or some underpriviledged person trying to prove that he did at least one thing right... and he did it himself!

When other movies get awards no one says - what's the big deal, only the actress was Australian, the hero was actually the Director who was a Japanese and the techology was American so they had to get it right. We don't do that because we have long accepted that they are a "one society" in all respects and can blend seamlessly...

Very desirable for the Indian community - if colour makes us stand out at times and gives us our identity, talent helps us blend in.

Let us take our credit - TOGETHER!

aargee said...

Whoa! That's some outpouring!
But it seems that you are missing the point.
Look, I am very happy that an Indian has won the award and that many other talented Indians were part of this successful project. Cheers.
But the clamour and misplaced happiness that this success came about majorly just because the project was connected with this magical, amazing land called India is what I can not take. And, this is what most of us are making it out to be. Sort of jingoism in place of patriotism.

Anonymous said...

Please let us not misread peoples happiness as patriotism. They were a part of a big thing and we know and recognise these persons as our own and want to share their happiness. Lets not make the picture larger than what it is.... I think I like the fact that among the people who are celebrating a win are Indians I recognise and who actually are talented people. It is not about "India" the country.. India has come a long way from when people did not even know it existed. And these and many other little things are baby steps towards a larger presence in all fields.

But thanks for the response..

aargee said...


ashish gaur said...

i have seeen the movie,its g8 piece of work,to show mumbai ,slums and india in such manner requires lot of research and correct potrayal of the subject deserves applaud atleast considering its been made by an american...e
when gazinisss and RNBDJ can be appreciated then this one deserves a pat on back for sure

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