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.