Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire everywhere and the Great Indian Tamasha!

Tuesday's Times of India was splashed with Oscar brags - Slumdog Millionaire. about 9 pages dedicated to it directly and indirectly. The articles ranged from Pookutty's hometown hoopla, the voice behind "Jai Ho" to who recommended the phrase "Jai Ho!". And yes, not to forget the sad state of affairs of those two poor kids still living in the slums; and the girl's biological mother trying to get custodial rights now that the girl has become a famous person overnight.

Log onto cyber space and there you see the whole nation feeling patriotic about this thing. Read the congratulatory messages; one could sense RELIGION, LANGUAGE bias and patriotism in the posts; each section trying to claim Rahman as their own!!!!

One cannot imagine the hype and hoopla created around it. Chuck the paper, tune in to a TV channel; and there you see the repeated footings played over again and again and again......And I don't get get what the reason Mr Anil Kapoor was exuberant for when he shouted ...India is great, Bollywood is great. Why at all did Bollywood come into picture here? When the other actor mentioned, "We have shown the world what we are in software, service, nuclear energy..and now with movies".....What were they thinking?

And the fact that it was not even an Indian movie! And why are we euphoric about it? AR Rahman has created far more better pieces than "Jai Ho". It has got to do with our mental inability to shun away the thought that acknowledgement from the west is final and God-sent judgement.
That is not the end of the world.

Why do we take credit for others? Was it not embarrassing for the whole of India when Bobby Jindal - the Louisiana Governor openly declared that he was not an Indian but a staunch American! Yet, we never seem to learn a lesson out of it.

The movie is not a success in India? Why? The reason is simple. The whole idea of Indian poverty, the way of life is filmed to showcase it to the West who have never seen it. But with people who walk by the slums day in and day out, accustomed to the way of life, does it matter? Yes, there are poor in India, living wretched life; but that is not all India. It could happen anywhere....Are there no slums in Brazil? in Peru? Are people not struggling in Russia? Are people not living a life of poverty in Sudan, in Zimbabwe..? But at the end of it all, its about the never-say-die spirit that triumphs.

But the ultimate Tamasha was when the UPA government claimed Slumdog's success as its own. A Congress leader claimed that the success of this movie was due to UPA's governance; when quizzed, another leader said that this person was referring to the protagonist in the movie going from rags to riches. The party further stated that the movie was a testimony to “conducive atmosphere created by the UPA government” for the “young achieving India.”

It seemed the UPA government has made "some" contributions whether it were 123 nuclear agreement, Chandrayans success, first Olympic gold, second largest growing economy.....phew!

The positive seems the movie has boosted Mumbai's slum tourism. Foreign tourists are curious about the slum, they want to visit it. One of the tourist was surprised that there was so many positive things happening in the slum; the industries; which was not reflected in the movie; expect for the poverty.

Well, its time for the India's tourism department to review its advertising campaign. It has been promoting the hills of Chattisgarh , medieval architecture of Delhi and the Western Ghats, the Himalayas, the blue waters of Goa...the deserts of Rajasthan as Incredible India....whereas the hottest destination seems to be Mumbai slums.

Incredible! India


  1. I totally agree with you...
    That is the reason I am not very excited about this oscar thing.
    I feel ARR might be happy, but not ecstatic about his achievement, as he knows that he has contributed much better pieces to the art of music. True art does not need recognition and this whole propaganda thing. It is just unfortunate that some people don't have the opportunity to listen and enjoy his music and we do! Ha ha... Screw the success story of 'Slum dog Millionare'. There are many more master pieces which make us more proud that this.


    we are mental slaves to goras :( even though India has become independent now ... u r very right , we tend to claim everything even having remote connection with India..:(

  3. Excellent article. Every word is true. Hey, after all we are the people who wanted to give a big recognition (like Bharat Ratna) to Sania Mirza for getting into the second round at Wimbledon a few years ago.

  4. Hi Gautam,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, its unfortunate that people are propagating a false sense of achievement. Except for Rahman and Pookutty of course..

  5. Thanks AS. The thought has etched deep in our mindset and we have become so submissive even though we are independent.

  6. Thanks much Mano. Yes, Its good to pat on our shoulders for our achievement, yet isn't it too false sometimes?

  7. I agree totally and detest this mental slavery of Indians for anything firang.

  8. Hi Renu,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Most of us don't like this idea of stealing credit for some one else' achievements. Yet a section of people end up jumping into this bandwagon for their selfish motives.

    Its a unhealthy trend and a pity.

  9. Awesome Bindu! Love your posts! I see that you have another reader who goes by the name Mano... :) I couldn't agree more with your post on the hipe around slumdog. You've voiced my thoughts!

  10. Heyyyyy Mano!

    Pleasant surprise da. Glad you loved my posts. :-) Yeah, there's another Mano and he shares the same name as yours. Great minds share the same thoughts you see :-P


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!