Arts Beat: “Slumdog Millionaire” Fact or Fiction

March 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

“Slumdog Millionaire” has taken the country by storm.? Last month, the film won the Best Picture Academy Award at the Oscars. Although “Slumdog Millionaire” has been tapped as the feel-good movie of the year, there are many Indians who are up in arms about the film’s depiction of corruption, exploitation, prostitution and life in India’s slums.

As someone of Sri Lankan descent, I know? it may sound harsh but these things are quite evident in developing countries. I have not been to Mumbai, where the film was shot, but I have to been to other areas of India and? witnessed some of these behaviors.

Corruption is quite common in India and is often committed by the police or anyone with money. ? Police have authoritative views and think they rule everything, while wealthy people, feel anything can be bought. People are often seen as commodities and, believe me when I say, those with money are seen and treated differently.

Life in the slums is quite similar to the portrayal in the film. Religion and worship is the center of everyone’s life. Poverty is rampant; street children are everywhere and those with physical abnormalities such as missing limbs or organs definitely earn more money. My grandmother one day told me it’s impossible to help everyone so just give money to those who have more challenges than everyone else. Children are often exploited through their labor and used as a way of building wealth.

Similar to servant labor, where people are often exploited, the sex trade industry exploits many people.? Brothel owners sell young women’s bodies to the highest bidders. Virginity is prized. In a culture dominated by men, few women have control over their own bodies. ? Brothels are proof that the world’s oldest profession exists everywhere.

For more information on “Slumdog Millionaire” visit the film’s Web site at the link below.?

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/slumdogmillionaire

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-Posted By Praveen Sathianathan

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Global News Blog: India Reacts To Slumdog Millionaire

February 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashlee Rivalto

India celebrated Slumdog Millionaire’s great success at the Oscars last night. As the news of the eight Oscar wins hit India Monday morning, Indian’s cried victory for the rags-to-riches film about a boy from Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi, located in Mumbai. But the country has not always embraced the film in this way. In fact, since the film’s release, there have been angry protests and outraged India natives accusing the film of portraying Western stereotypes.

As India continues to grow and establish itself as a modern world power, some Indians see the Western world handicapping the country with stereotypes. But is the film portraying stereotypes or realities? Poverty is real. Not just in India but all over the world—it exists in all developed nations. It is a reality that many do not like to face, which is why films like Slumdog Millionaire are important, they open our eyes to realities that many of us want to ignore.

One Indian woman was quoted in a New York Times article saying, “This movie is showing poor India and that is liked by Westerners.” I believe Slumdog Millionaire fans like the movie because it is a depiction of a real world reality—not just an Indian reality. Maybe anti-Slumdog Millionaire moviegoers rather see the sparkly fairytale India that is portrayed in most Bollywood movies.

Others accuse the film of being unauthentic. Some Indians even refer to the movie as an entirely British film—with British Director, Danny Boyle and British Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. If this were true, then why would the movie be embraced by India now as an Indian film victory? Would it have anything to do with the eight sparkly fairytale Oscars it won last night? Now that the movie has morphed into a sparkly fairytale it can be accepted?