Friday, January 30, 2009
The SlumDog Debate
Note: I started this post before the whole debate of SDM being a good/bad movie for India began. Couldn’t complete it cauz of my busy schedule. Few things written here may sound outdated but the post is refreshingly new. Enjoy Reading!
Yesterday when I went home from work I got to know that the much talked about movie "SlumDog Millionaire" (I would call it SDM for ease of typing) has been nominated for Oscar awards in 10 different categories including Rehman for 3 music categories. And then started the discussion.
But before I tell you what the debate was, Ill have to tell you something about my younger sister, caus she was my opponent in the debate and I dont want to be unfair to her.
Ms. B, my sister in perusing her Masters in Social Work (MSW - Making Smiles to Worried! She will kill me if she reads this) and she thinks she has acquired all the knowledge of the other world. Yes its the other face of the world that we normal people are not aware of. Like injustice with poor people, biased behavior with girls, the theories of Karl Marx, the concept of Capitalism being unfair and Socialism being the best thing that could happen to India and blah blah blah! Her knowledge of these issues make her closer to the reality (according to her) and she knows about what is actually going on in our nation. Thus she has a different perspective for everything and loves debating over any issue.( trust me when I say any. It can as trivial as eating a chocolate pastry at Barista).
Now coming back to the topic, when we started the discussion of SDM winning so many Golden Globe Awards and now getting nominated for Oscars, she as goes her habit started a debate. As per Ms. B, SDM is not doing good to India and is presenting its poor image to the world as a nation full of poverty. OK. She also said that Boyle (the director) being a westner has no right to portray such poor image of India to the world. And even if he does we being Indians should condemn his action. Now that was a little too much I felt. She also said that Amitabh Bachhan have mentioned in his blog that the movie also portrays India a as country full of only poor people. I have read AB's blog (search for SM) and his clarifications.
I was googling the whole thing about SDM and got this article. Quote "The bitter truth is, Slumdog Millionaire could only have been made by westerners. The talent exists in India for such movies: much of it, like the brilliant actor Irrfan Khan, contributed to this film. But Bollywood producers, fixated with making flimsy films about the lives of the middle class, will never throw their weight behind such projects. Like Bachchan, they are too blind to what India really is to deal with it. Poor Indians, like those in Slumdog, do not constitute India's "murky underbelly" as Bachchan moronically describes them. I have no doubt that Slumdog Millionaire will encourage many more honest films to be produced in India. But they should be ashamed that it took a white man to show India how to do it."
What the hell! Well I have not watched the movie as yet but what I have grabbed of it surely tells me that such movies have been made in past as well. Movies on Indian poverty, the recent "Traffic Signal" also told us about India's so-called Reality. It was an ok movie as well, but got no acclaims. There are so many other Indian films made by Indian directors that got no acclaim. Was it really, because these were made by an Indian and not a westner? It is actually true that we look upon westeners as people above us? AB's comments tell us so and I agree to a certain level.
Ms. B me “Who according to you is Elite?” and I all people I could think of as an elite person was who spoke good English, was sophisticated, well mannered, ate well, spoke well, looked good, who dressed well, and who was rich. She said these are the traits of English people. English being the top most. Manners have been defined by them we are ourselves following western culture so how do we deny the fact that westners are given an upper edge over Indians?
The movie is been recognized globally because it has been made by an English man and not an Indian who have tried the same thing, and even better, in the same genre but got no praise from the Western world. All Oscars and Golden Globe are won by their people and not ours in spite of being worthy of it.
She was so right. In India, a fairer girl is still preferred over a darker complexion. English speaking people are given better jobs across industries, corporates follow western dressing code and we prefer eating Pizza over Dal Roti when we are with friends, just to sound and look modern. Yes Modern, that how we define west. After being Independent for more than 65 years now, we still have not been able to free ourselves from the invisible bond of the English people. They flow, though subtly in our minds, thoughts, and ideas.
I don’t know how right this follow west attitude is, but it is the reality. Whether we like the movie cauz it has been made by some Boyle or is it actually a worth watch would be decided after watching it.
Feel free to share your opinion about the movie here. Ill write another post after watching the film.