Sunday, February 1, 2009

India = Poverty = Oscar

In the first few minutes into the movie I told myself, these type of slums do exist in India. An Indian director is never going to showcase them, so may be we shouldn't complain about it. But then it suddenly hit upon me the kind of questions I might face strangers/ other non-Indians about the movies. Only then it occured to me what the movie is to western audience.(based on the questions I can predict, they wont stem from their disturbance rather from some kind of perverted joy about the poverty from my country).

In good old days, people will get together in an amphitheater and watch two people fight against each other till one of them dies. Fight a lion. Fight a bull. Such things are banned nowadays.

So these days, people go to theater to watch Poverty. For some strange reason these make the white skinned very happy. Look guys you are all very poor. It is a recent sport. Derogating other humans have always made quite a few humans happy, when you get an opportunity to derogate a whole country why would you not?

Otherwise, why would a movie which has so many factual inconsistencies and loopholes make it to the oscar nomination? Dev Patel's actions while being interrogated are so rich spoilt brat like than an Indian from the slums. I have watched KBC pretty much every episode till I was in India. Never was an participant ever mistreated. And I have seen a Milkman star in it and through sheer prayers getting upto 10 questions right. Amitabh treated him with atmost dignity. Never do they make fun of partcipant's class/ social status. Way too many loopholes to even list them. (Friedo Pinto is hardly there in the movie for her to hog as much limelight in post movie celebs)

Yes, Some Indians do seem to run away from their poverty. There are some popular persons like Preity Zinta who think in order to abolish slums we need to stop new workers from coming to mumbai. She wouldn't know what a common person like me would know. That these people are migrants from villages. They don't have any opportunity in their villages and are forced to migrate to the city to live in an inhuman condition. The problem is not migration to mumbai. The problem is development tends to be concentrated in the cities in India. But Preity zinta did not feel like thinking it through before commenting on them. So acc. to her, Let these people without jobs die some where else why come to mumbai and actually earn a living.

But apart from few Snooty, selfish and also brainless Preity Zintas, for most of us poverty is a problem we don't want to deny rather one we cant solve. We hope these economic development will trickle down to the lowest of the lowest in the economic order.

Meanwhile, some people would like to capture it in video camera and use it for their entertainment!

Poverty is neither a sport nor a lie.

Ps: I watched it with the same friend with whom I watched Vaaranam Aayiram. For the past few weeks I have been waiting to watch SDM. I have been missing it for the past 4 weeks for one reason or another. Today, I badly wanted to watch Luck by chance which plays in AMC here( I live in mini India:)). My friend was more inclined to watch SDM so I turned the car after taking the route to watch Luck by chance. I feel I should have just stuck to my gut instincts and watched Luck by chance instead.

Pps: For an authentic portrayal of mumbai's dowtrodden, please watch Salaam Bombay. I didnt sleep for two days after that movie and tried hanging on to the after the movie interview of protagonist. A real life urchin, now as a grown up he is renting a lower class apartment. Thanks to the movie and the renumeration he got. He says how he is one of billion to get an opportunity to like this to move out of the streets. your eyes do well up.


  1. Sachita, I think your reaction to the movie depends on what you take away from it. To me, it was a movie that was very different from any that I have seen lately and had bits and pieces that I could relate to.

    I saw the movie without knowing anything about it, which probably explains my reaction to it.

  2. Suman,

    Thanks for visiting me even on weekends:)
    I guess the above piece is more on reaction to the western world towards the movie than the movie itself.

    And I avoided every review before watching the movie. I dont even the blame the team as much, Danny boyle appears to sweet to blame him for negative thoughts. But the movie to me did not work for me. For eg, more than latika and jamal getting back together, i was left feeling emotional for Salim:) and so on..

    Movie watching is an entirely subjective experience and glad the movie worked for you.

  3. I was about to say what Suman did. I had read every review and was prepared to not like the movie and to my surprise quite liked it. I did not feel it was trying to spotlight India negatively. I just watched it as I would any other movie and kinda enjoyed it.

  4. Laksh,
    I did read your review after watching the movie. As I explained to Suman, I have issues mroe with the accolades than the movie itself.