January 23, 2009

Of Slumdog Millionaire, Oscars And India

Freida Pinto Slumdog Millionaire actress- photograph by Ryan Martis

Freida Pinto Slumdog Millionaire actress- photograph by Ryan Martis

So Slumdog Millionaire has achieved a wondrous feat..nominations in 10 categories by the piously revered Oscar jury and won 7 (updated)! What a celebration of misery.

That India, specifically Mumbai has been portrayed belly up, replete with gamines bathed in poo, eyes gorged out by devilish beggar mafia, frenetic religion dominated outbreaks and filth, shot through hidden cameras, as revealed by Danny Boyle himself, is but a miniscule detail. Dont be silly ..stop fretting! We ought to kick our feet, jump sky high in utter glee now that India has been finally acknowledged by the divine Oscars as a country that is deserved of existing on the cinematic global map…

India Oscars Slumdog

Residents of a nearby slum demonstrate outside the office of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, one of the main casts of the movie �Slumdog Millionaire,� demanding that the name of the film be changed, in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. Two dozen slum kids carried banners of protest Thursday, saying they were not slum dogs and demanded a change in the name of the award-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” (AP Photo)

Srk and sex sell in India..true. RNBDJ a glaring example of the formers star value , the latter pervades every avenue of marketing. What is the sine qua non for global success..Indias poverty. Ask Mira Nair (nothing personal…she is one of the most talented Directors of Indian review of Namesake) Now Slumdog millionaire. Oh I know the snort that greets such averments by the liberal brigade who are  stridently invading every media channel proclaiming, democracy, freedom of expression, truth-portrayed and all of that.  I snort back in answer.

Grow up. Are you trying to tell me that Danny Boyles choice of book by a scarcely known Vikas Swarup had origins in complete trance like hypnosis of the stupendous story hidden in Q&A? You must be naive and wholly oblivious to the ways of the success at any cost! If that were so the screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy would have gone along with the story therein and the Q&A. But there were changes galore….inclusions, exclusions, depictions..all of which were creative additions underlined the scenario meant to serve as delectable fare for the gourmands..namely the jury of Oscars and western audiences.

What gets my goat is the intent. It comes across as a ploy, ruse, gimmick to win gullible audiences. Had I been convinced that Boyles initiative was merely an artistic outing, a cinematic expression which was aesthetically motivated, perhaps the outrage would have boiled down to a simmer. I would totally surrender.But that was not to be.

A major change by the maker which, if anything exemplifies my angst a hundred fold. The central character assayed by Dev Patel is called Jamal Malik in the movie while the book named him a secular Ram Mohamed Thomas!!! The intention behind naming this character  depicted as a ‘slumdog’ in its widest connotation simply mischievous if not malicious.

And what about the title. Swarup named it an innocuous ” Q&A”. Why was it changed to the humiliating appellation ‘Slumdog’ Millionaire?

It may also interest you to know that there is NO word such as ‘slumdog’ in any dictionary of the world. It has been used , thanks to the ingenuity of the Oscar nominated screenplay writer Beaufoy. Talented huh? To summon up pejorative terms of the caliber is no mean task I presume. Deserved of Oscars!

And ponder on the audacity…to call the inhabitants of your host country a ‘dog’ reeks of insensitivity coupled with extreme puffery. One can almost picture Boyle thinking ” Oh Indians ..they ought to feel indebted that I, The Danny Boyle am making a film in India with Indian actors. They wont as much as come up with a matter how they are addressed”

Dont you see it? Isnt it transparent.. the callous uncaring attitude towards the sentiments of Indians? Would any of our makers ever dare to make films in another country..even if it concerned the poorest in the world..Sudan.. with nomenclature of ‘dogs’ screaming in the title?

And please dont hide behind the crap of statements like ” a tale of triumph of the human spirit’…it was nowhere evident. In fact the last line of the film spelt it out with “It was written”…

Besides..How many of you recall the 90’s or so when every pageant was won by an Indian beauty, Years that brought on Ash, Sushmita, Diana, Dia onto the world beauty stage ?Connect that with the promise of a resurgent Indian economy and the crystal ball gives its answer.

Recession does strange things to people and to those who power countries. India is once again materialising as the gateway to economic progress..Oscars the first indication of the thought process in motion. Read again if the message is ambiguous.

It makes me does… to see my country screened unilaterally. I was repulsed personally. Some react with ” so do something about it”.. Yeah..How? Why? Its supposed to make the governance go pale in the face not the citizens. WE as Indians and those who value dignity ought to react with repugnance. Bravo dear Amitabh Bachchan.

The point is that this is once too many. If this were to be a one off, a first time that Indias poverty was the focal point of a Westerners or for that matter an ambitious Indians lens, the reaction mightnt have been so strong. But each time that Indias story is told, its either the extinct Maharajahs and their palaces or the slums that take center stage. Enough is enough. If the intention behind is to exploit Indias misery to make your bucks, I have the right to strongly object to this mentality.

We ought to read the script of those who wish to films in India? Deepa Mehta was sent home to Canada when she wanted to make ‘ Water”..why are we starry eyed when it comes to foreigners making films on our shores?

Would this film have been nominated in a single category had it been made by an Indian…even if  it were a frame to frame replica of the present ? NO way!!! You see we are the slumdogs in the eyes of the world. It is when a Danny Boyle validates our existence when he trains is brilliant camera on us that it becomes worthy of acceptance. Nothing gives them ecstatic orgasms than to view the underdog from a country which boasts of spiritual wisdom. It makes them elated in a space they won…that of materialism. they cannot win over us in their non existent philosophy.

Do you think  Shekhar kapoors Elizabeth was any less a masterpiece ( in fact more)? If you are a student of cinema youd dare say NO. But he was ignored. Because you see, Indians are best acknowledged in their torn attire, dishevelled with pangs of hunger, grisly with the madness of deprivation. Stand up to their area of expertise, show them that you know your craft and they make you scamper back home.

Sudhir Mishra in an interview to a TV channel revealed recently that whilst he was shooting for ‘Dharavi” a foreign crew wished to film him filming. He was asked to enter a hut and the camera followed him. Suddenly the Director sounded ‘ Cut’ since he saw a television’ through his lens. A slum dweller wasnt supposed to own a TV ! What blasphemy! And there are those who swear by reality and truth? Truth is what suits you and not plainly what it is,  a fragmented piece of story, hurriedly written , non seriously is not TRUTH.

This is not a review of Slumdog Millionaire. Some other time maybe since presently my senses are too numbed by the open defiance by Indians on what is supposed to be an affront to their sense of dignity, self respect and innate patriotism. I have the right to critique India. I pay taxes, live here and brave challenges. But if foreigners think they can in the guise of love and cinematic expression rape my millions..they ought to be strongly chided.

Have you read Vikas swarups interview.. Do. He wrote this story for a lark since he happened to be twiddling his thumbs while his wife was away to India…the land of the slums.. and he was alone in his presumably teak and mahogany study giving wings to his power of imagination and study of ‘what sells’.. he responded with ” Come on its not for real..its only a film”>

Sure. Except that Indians are caught with feet and hand bound, at the mercy of corrupt ministers, stacking away zillions in their Swiss banks while we dumbly, wide eyed sit back and squirm at the depiction of the poor. So, Do something about it..Danny Boyle. use your clout to shake up the administration now that you have endlessly expressed your ‘love’ for India! Please show it to us differently than shaming us nude!

Noteworthy link ..which echoes my contention.

Couldnt agree more with Priyadarshan

Ramesh Chandars Article..A Must Read..

AddThis Social Bookmark Button



  1. Given that Mr. Bachchan had agreed to, and was looking forward to, working with Mira Nair (yes the very Mira Nair you have stated in your post) in Shantaram (a film that would have equally exploited India’s underbelly), his position vis a vis Slumdog Millionaire (“SM”) seems very disingenuous. Perhaps if the Globes had called upon Mr. Bachchan to introduce “SM”. Perhaps if the Globes had introduced Mr. Bachchan at the award night as the “Star of the Millennium”, his position on SM would have been different.

    Danny Boyle chose a story to tell that appealed to him (it is a Bollywood type “fantasy” not a documentary). I don’t understand how anyone can begrudge an artist for doing his job. Also I do not think if this movie was made by Mira Nair or Deepa Mehta or Gurinder Chaada it would have met with any less success. Perhaps others might wish to show another perspective of Bombay (it is a free world), but Danny Boyle has a right to tell a story in a manner that he sees fit.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 24, 2009 @ 2:28 am | Reply

  2. That was a really petty remark on AB!!

    I have read Shantaram briefly. It didnt come across like a saga on the underbelly. More a tale beginning with indiscretions of the author and the nefarious activities he indulged in. Nobody refuses to accept that Mumbai like any other metropolis, New York and Paris has streets that are mean and dirty.

    Mira, Deepa and Gurinder arent really considered Indian Directors but diaspora which is a huge difference in the perception of westerners. Night Shyamalan wonder the reception to his films.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 24, 2009 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  3. Hats off to the writer who wrote such a down to earth commentary on”Slumdog Millionaire” and Kavita’s comments on that are equally succinct. Can kavita also make public the name of the writer? I would like to personally compliment him.

    After watching the movie, I will certainly write my review and also brief comments and efforts of our stalwats who had earlier made films like “Salaam Bombay” ; “Chakra” “Dharavi” on the same Mumbai squalor and underbelly but they did not either glorify or glamorised or turned into an spectacle. It is regretting that what Amitabh Bachchan wrote in his blog about SM ,he is disowning now. May be he might have his own reasons now after the film is nominated for 10 Oscars.

    Incidently as back as on 12 th Jan; as a reaction to columnist Shobhaa De’s flowing praises after watching aSM on a pirated DVD, I had written the following letter to the editor for publication. I knew, they can’t dare to publish that and they did not so far.

    “The Editor — Sunday Times of India

    While lauding Danny Boyle’s film “Slumdog Millionaire” ,Shobhaa De did not do anything different than what foreigners do.
    Any truthful creation depicting Indian deprivity, poverty and rampant human abuses is always admired and relished by foreigners,though Indians at large first fail to appreciate but later fall in line ,after foreign accolades. Satyajit Ray (“Pather Panchali” trology) , Mira Nair (“Salaam Bombay”)and the booker prize winner Arvind Adiga(‘White Tiger”) are the shining examples, now followed by “Slumdog Millionaire”. Shobha De can still join this bandwagon by deviating from her sex, glamour and high society writings.

    Mohan Siroya “

    Comment by Mohan — January 24, 2009 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

    • Mohan ji..there was no other writer. This is my post. Just the photograph has been linked. Maybe you can tell me what caused the misunderstanding.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 24, 2009 @ 3:37 pm | Reply

    Please accept my hearty compliments thru’ this website as i do not have your phone to do so personally. Believe me you can be a better media/film critic and analyst than many of us .
    I got confused — one because your name was just below the description of photograph, which I thought, you put so your name. Second , there was comment no 2 ,which I misundrstood as your comment and not a reply to Shaan Khan’s comment.

    Comment by Mohan — January 24, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks Mohan ji,

    Reviewing movies is actually a passion that I havent indulged in for a while now. But apart from Bhram, scroll down this link I am posting and you can read my movie reviews..dont know if you would agree with all of them. But this way at least you wont have to jump off your skin when I write on films.There is nothing I love as passionately.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 24, 2009 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  6. Hi Kaveetaa,
    Truthful outpour and honest expressions made the article a great read. The other day I was watching the debate on one of the national channels and was trying to figure out my take on this. Unfortunately our own channels were doing a programme on the slum children. They named the programme” Our Slum Dogs”, I felt that they were so cruel and copy cat in their thinking that they could not even garner courage to call these children as Angels of slums or Flowers of Slums. One can name a film and give a title like “Slumdog Millionaire” but for a national channel to call the children of the soil by this name is simply ridiculous. Gandhiji had renamed the untouchables as Harijans and given them a new identity and self-respect. Today our Children of God are ruling states and aspiring to become Prime Ministers.
    I completely agree that Shekhar Kapoor’s Elizabeth was a greater masterpiece and it was ignored primarily because the director was of Indian origin. While everybody was talking about the film and raving about its success, conspicuously no body spoke much about the director, for reasons known to every Indian. Similarly, when Lt. General Nambiar was successfully commanding the UN troops in Bosnia, the western media would interview only the lower rung White brigadiers and colonels. The prejudice was quite visible.

    Comment by Anjali RajGuru — January 24, 2009 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  7. Agree totally Anjali. The strange part is that Shekhar Kapoor himself condones SDM. We are in a minority here. But that will not deter me from speaking out vociferously against what I feel strongly. The Oscars are a market place albeit classy and internationally respected. Is that reason enough for us to swallow the blatant disrespect to our sentiments?

    I am shocked that some channel was actually labelling these kids as slumdogs. While one has learnt to turn a Nelsons eye to media tactics, one cannot circumspect every other area of operation.

    Most Indians are all agog at the mention of the Oscars. Colonialism may have disappeared from our lives but not our minds ..its as if genetically coded.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 24, 2009 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

  8. Danny Boyle is getting flak because

    A. Some people feel that only those that they define as true Indians can talk about India and or anything Indian.
    B. Slumdog Millionaire presented just a slice of Bombay / India and not the whole pie
    C. It is easy to be destructive and hard to be constructive.
    C It is written

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 25, 2009 @ 7:56 am | Reply

  9. Shaan you de construct the argument lopsidedly and cynically. If you have decided not to see the point being made then what is the purpose of sparring thus.

    For the sake of correcting your erroneous half baked conclusions..let me re state your ABCC>>into first and foremost ABCD and then

    A. Some people feel that those whose intent is to exploit Indias miseries to make their bucks need to be chastised Indians. Who else?

    B. SD presents a picture that rapes our sentiments.

    C. It is easy to be destructive and hard to be constructive. True. Ask Danny.

    D. It is written.. Of course it is So wheres the triumph of effort beyond fate and whats the BIG DEAL?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 25, 2009 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  10. I accidently came across this web site. I am a westerner , who has been with Krishnaconciousness for about 25 yrs. I have lived in many cities in India, including Bombay, now Mumbai. I read the book Q& A , the novel about which the movie is made of. The writer has done gross injustice. He has called the main character in the book as Ram Muhammaed and Thomas. The movie I had to see , bec I served the slums in Mumbai Krishna’s Prasadam. Now in the movie the hero if he can be called so, is called Jamal Malik. In slums of Mumbai where I served, about 60% of the children were orphans , who had did not know what their religion was. It was sometimes heartbreaking to see these orphans, but I used to be happy see their stomachs full and their smile it would sure create a thousand paddy fields bloom in the desert sands of Middle East. Now the movie, it is sad that the name Rama Muhammed Thomas was not kept. A name in present times means a lot. I do not know what the writer feels about this. But this is definetely bad message given by the producers and directors. This dishonesty and immorality of the West made a devotee of Hare Krishna.

    The hero, seeing the Ram Statue and then answering the question was very hurting indeed. This was done in the background of riots. I would have given to the Ram Leelas and a television serial as a background , when the hero is growing up. It is very irrational to show a boy panciking and seeing a idol and then remembering this and answering. Nobody remembers like this. Growing up with Ramleela and the television serial Ramayana in the background, in the slums would have been right way of showing. I do not know how the writer feels abot this. May be materialism has ovecome him also. About the tV serial written above as ” Our slum dogs” . This is aping the Western immorality and dishonesty. India has so much to offer. Why do you copy this illegitimate creativity?

    Comment by Krishnadas — January 25, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  11. Please read it as screenplay writer has done gross injustice.

    Comment by Krishnadas — January 25, 2009 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  12. Krishnadas ji welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment. Yes in changing the name of the central character from Ram Mohamed Thomas to Jamal malik which I have mentioned in my post is telling of extreme insincerity in the writers/ Director. fanning the Muslim Hindu divide and feigning innocence masked with words like ” we love India’ is what led me to write this post.

    The illogicalities in the film and implausibilities I have not even attempted as that would mean writing a review. I agree with your comment totally. This film is at best a masala Bollywood flick, well cinematographed. But a win at the Oscars for this film will make me look askance forever at the credibility of the awards. ARR is a doubt. But I have herd better from him. This score was hardly deserving of the raves it has garnered.

    The questions in the book have not been included. What has finally been shot is an India Boyle wants to present..perhaps bettering Bollywood in their fantasises but making no bones to show up India in her miserable glory.

    Why should we as Indians stand for it? Those Indians who do, have somehow anaesthetised themselves to nationalist pride and therefore scorn those who yet mange to summon it up on occasions such as this.

    It touches me that you being westerner have reacted in the manner an Indian should more because you saw though the facade.

    A big welcome again.

    Hare Krishna!

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 25, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  13. When i served in slums of Bombay , now Mumbai to be more true to Krishna , Mother Mumbai, because it is named after the indigenous fisherfolk’s Goddess, i found that the seniors of the slums were all good farm hands in the villages.
    Agriculture the first culture of homosapiens has been systematically degraded by greedy businessmen and corporations. The 1943 famine , on which the British empire slept , was the starting point of these slums. Just type 1943 famine in India in google, esp Bengal, you will get to know all the truths in various web pages. it is wrong to corporatize agriculture. It should be done as cooperatives and farmers markets with farm hands should get substantial share. In fact , even the buyers will get at a affordable price. This is the main reason for the slums in major cities in India.

    The films stars of Mother Mumbai, are a silly lot. The adulation they receive as demi gods is stupefying. The money they make can easily turn the slums into plum places. They are also caught in the trap of materialism and just copying their Western counterparts. Some in the West do give , but these Indian films stars must give back to their fans in slums as under the grip of adulation, the fans do anything and everything. I have seen this once happen to a teenager. I will describe it later, not flimsily like the Q&A writer. I do not remember much of the details, bec of fear that food does not get wasted, I had to be more focussed. When I recollect truly , I will write down.

    Hope the films stars of Mother Mumbai get into senses and give back to the slum people and not just shed tears , with and without glycerine.

    Comment by Krishnadas — January 25, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  14. You touch upon various pertinent issues Krishnadas ji. All of which deserve thought…serious thought.

    Off the cuff, what comes to mind is rhetoric really. If Japan could survive nuclear bombings, Europe and America sprung back from world wars, a famine in India almost devastated a country. The British knew they were but guest who needed to make the most of their visit and India floundering, teethering from lack of identity perhaps suffered from adept governance to tackle the issue head on..a drawback which exists to this day.

    There is no shred of doubt in the fact that had our Agriculural roots been backed by strong policies which encouraged our farmers to carry on , providing them subsidies and sops none of the slums would have taken on a rabid form. Humger, joblessness and deprivation is the breeding ground of homelessness and exodus from villages to cities, ill equipped to handle the onslaught of thousands and lakhs of daily incomings.

    The less we talk of Actors and Corporate houses the better, India lacks a sense of personal responsibility and accountability stemming from rampant corruption which has demoralised and disillusioned the average denizen. Of course this is no excuse for the complete apathy of those who could be the harbingers of change, namely the haves, for having not lifted a finger or a voice to eradicate the ever expanding dominance of slums and poverty. It is just that each wants to pass the buck since the absence of role models and strong leadership only makes matters worse.

    Before our actors jump onto the band wagon of films which gleefully exemplify the pitiful state our country is in, one wishes they suffered from pangs of conscience that prompted them to refuse such enterprises. its not enough to outwardly show responsibility by turning down Cola ads or cigarette endorsements when you merrily lap up offers of SD kinds.

    Nationalistic pride is a sentiment that one cannot be outwardly imbued with. One either feels it from the deepest recesses of ones soul or then makes excuses for the lack of it by defiantly and stridently proclaiming, as most are doing ” Its the truth that is being shown in SD.. why hide the truth or deny it?”

    One is doing neither of the above. There can be no denying, or hiding. What one is objecting to is the world making a mockery of it for personal gain.

    But for some who cannot see the difference between fame and infamy, famous and infamous, its like beating your head against a stone wall.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 25, 2009 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

  15. My accounts in Mumbai slums make me a bit upset about this SD and your film stars. Why does not the creative men and women write a script about the 1943 famine backed up by the corporate greed now as screenplay and give it back to the empire , in an artistic non-violent manner. This can be done. Do these men and women have the capacity to do this?

    Comment by Krishnadas — January 25, 2009 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

    • There was a fantastic film made long ago on perhaps the famine called ” Do bigha Zamin”..staring Balraj Sahni . This was film India will always be proud about. I do not recall if the issues you mention gained enough attention or were focussed on. But yes you do have a valid point. The ways of the industry are strange. I belong to this fraternity through marriage and also as a child star. Suffice to say that business dictates rule all other. if the ‘project’ is viable and stars agree to condescend into working here, it may happen. I would love to involve myself in something like this.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 25, 2009 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  16. Kav

    Allow me the indulgence.

    Some time back, on an overseas business trip, a woman colleague of mine asked if I could take her to a Mosque. She wanted a more thorough look, not just a touristic visit. Since we were not in USA at that point, I made a courtesy promise that I would definitely do that on our return to New York. Hence, once we returned home, I took her to a Mosque. I took her inside the main halls, enlightened her, in my very own special Shaan Khan way, with some details on the structure, as well as the protocols during prayers. While I was showing her around, a “gentleman” approached us and started “insisting” that my colleague (in his opinion) was not appropriately dressed. Honestly, I thought my associate was very modestly dressed, but after being told, I did see a few shortcomings. I apologized to the man, established my credential and when things got back to normal, I told the man that the lady had expressed a sincere interest in Islam (not that she was planning to convert or even thinking about it), her visit was going well, but his reprimand has soured the experience.

    I feel the same vis a vis SM. Truth is like sunlight, it is very hard to hide it. Eventually everyone sees it. But one needs to give people the time to see things at their own pace. This must be perhaps Danny Boyle first “real” taste of Bombay. Allow him to experience the layers of Bombay at his own schedule. Left to himself he will ultimately see the whole thing. Please don’t sour his experience.

    In any case there is very little empirical evidence to back your emotional position. Please understand that even Steven Spielberg was not recognized for the longest time by the Oscars. Martin Scorsese also did not see an Oscar till a few years ago. I hope you don’t jump to the conclusion that the Oscars are against “Jews” and “Italians” also. Above all, remember that while the Globe/Oscars DOES recognize foreign films and foreign film makers, most Indian awards do not even do that.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 25, 2009 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  17. actuality you are asking of me to indulge Danny Boyle in granting him time to assess the real Bombay after he has gone ahead and framed it for posterity.

    If I was convinced that his intention were as noble as I presume that of your colleague was to learn more on Islam I would have been willing to swallow all. But somehow the ring of truth strikes hollow. His changing Devs name is something I cannot forgive. And this “I” business.. doesnt sound quite right I am sure he doesnt care a hoot for my views. I do care to voice them irrespective.

    And about Empirical evidence..according to you Steven S receiving it so late, Alfred Hitchcock never getting the honor ( both Jews?) Shekhar being ignored are mere coincidences? I dont think so. Oscars are not as innocently pristine as you make it out to be. Its a veritable market out there.

    In any case its not just about the Oscars. My rejection of the film on these grounds would hold whether or not Oscars happened. I find the whole ploy a business strategy.Poverty an apt term.

    Indian awards…never did vouch for them. Plain tamasha.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 25, 2009 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  18. Kav

    Lets be consistent. Where was this same “disgust” and “outcry” when the Bachchan family recently made a film, “Daaraouna”, where they gave the villain an Urdu/Muslim sounding name and dialect while the whole movie had a very sanskrit/hindi flavor ? I agree that any divisive attempts or hate mongering should be nipped in the bud, but one needs to be consistent.

    Having lived in the west for most of my life, I can vouch there is very little racism here (Please note I do agree that some exists). This is a merit based society that by and large sticks to the rules. Yes it is hard to break through the glass ceiling, but it is possible. Obamaa is a poster child of west’s ability to be inclusive. Comparatively there is far more racism in the east. I have no doubt that Shekar Kapoor would have eventually succeeded, if he was not that lazy or content to live on his past glory (he has not even made a movie in Bollywood in decades).

    But if racism, poverty, corruption, filth, etc was absent in Bombay / India (it is much more today than it was before) you would have a point. If the things that SM shows were not present in Bombay, then I would agree with your position. Unfortunately, SM presents a slice of the truth. Perhaps it is a truth that people have become blind to. Think of it as a constructive criticism. Don’t shoot the messenger if you do not like the message.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 25, 2009 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  19. The word “dog” is used in India very frequently in India when they chide someone they do not like. For instance , it is used in the Bengali lingua and in Hindi it is the well known “Kutta”. I found the equivalent of “dog”
    used in South India also. This word was an all India phenomenon for abuse and chiding. Then one day some devotees told us that in Hindi films the villain and hero alternate the word dog as kutta almost like an anthem. I used to wonder , why this word ” dog” is so much for abuse in India. Yes , the answer came to me when I visited a very senior citizen in a ramshackle flat in Calcutta. The man was 88 yrs old. Sharp and a devotee. He told me that during the British days there used to be boards kept ” Dogs and Indians not allowed” where the British higher ups where living. This he said calling many non violent freedom fighters as dog or kutta by the poilce then was very common.

    So this word kutta “dog” remained as an hangover of colonial abuse right upto this day. My Indian friends tell me that , the word is still used almost like an anthem by the police in India. This inheritance of colonial abuse has been kept in this movie. I do not see Indian movies , but this I saw due to my service in slums. It would have a better if they had called it Slum Boy Millionaire or From Slum to Plum Boy Millionaire, instead of dog which is very very hurting. Afterall , the person, a boy who wins the millions is in post colonial India and not in British India.

    It is sad that sense and sensiblity has been thrown away and I can say that all slum boys and girls in India deserve Krishna’s blessings and food and should become plum billionaires and serve society much better that the glitzy stars of Mother Mumbai.

    Comment by Krishnadas — January 26, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  20. #20 Shaan.. now come on. Your arguments are getting tamer by the .umm.. comment. Please dont bring in the Bachchans without cause. Do I need to re iterate that my objection was to do with Boyle changing the name from a secular on to Jamal malik?? There is a world of a difference between your irrelevant example and the reality of Boyle intention. And how can you overlook the change of title as well? Calling it Slumdog Millionaire was a thought through change..Appalling!

    Constructive crtiticism has to come from quarters that have love as their intention, knowledge as the foundation and experience as the guiding principle. Why should we accept Boyles? H isnt quaified to pass any of the above criteria?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 26, 2009 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  21. Krishnadas ji. Absolutely.on the dot. Dog is the most humiliating of all nomenclatures handed down to us since the British ruled India. To think that Boyle had the audacity to coin the term (maybe not the first one..but please read my post) for poor children of a country he professes oh so condescendingly to love, makes his not so pious intentions clear for all those who wish to see. How could he do that? And our Indian actors jumped up with alacrity to join in without sparing a thought for the teeming millions who were being referred to as “DOGS?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 26, 2009 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  22. Now that we have eliminated all other possible causes of pain, and have narrowed down to the switch of the name of the lead character (by the movie makers), let us address it.

    Right off the bat let me tell you that in USA this is a VERY VALID issue. We look upon such acts as evil (OK near evil). This is a genuine cause for outrage, hence I am mystified why you are so selective in your response. Why does the switch of the name in SM to Jamal is so problematic while the Bachchans using Urdu/Muslim name/dialect for the villains in Daarauona (while everything else in that pathetic movie is Sanskrit/Hindi flavored) does not bother you ?

    Let me tell you why the switch of name in SM does not bother me. The film makers show their neutrality and expose their mindset by i) Stating both religions are responsible for Jamal’s mother’s death; and ii) By making this movie a cross religion love story. A Muslim boy and a Hindu girl inspite of the common turmoil that they share come together and fall in love. In the absence of the two reasons stated here, I would be, like you, outraged too. I do not condone racism or racial intolerance or racial baiting under any circumstances. I have stood for racial harmony all my life and hopefully will never waver from this position.

    You may choose to answer the question that I have posed, but it is not imperative, you don’t have to. You may choose to opt out, using Bachchan as an excuse, but that too is not necessary, I am not demanding an answer. Nonetheless please answer to yourself. Why selective outrage? If it good for the goose it should be good for the gander.

    Ok then, “Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte” Ba-Bye.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 27, 2009 @ 4:11 am | Reply

  23. Bachhan is a very low in profile compared to Bruce Willis in ” The Siege” with Denzel Washington shown winning. The sterotyping in this movie is on a massive scale. Then you have American Dreams where leader of plot says to the singer of Middle Eastern Origin ” We will met in heaven if you do the act” Of course the plot does not happen. Then are many movies made in Hollywood which stereotypes. The list, can go on and on. Then you should look at the British TV serials. Some of them stereotype to the hilt. Europe , you have to be there to experience the stereotyping. Bollywood potboilers is very gentle in stereotyping. In fact it does the other way to Hollywood.

    One of the greatest movie of all times was Lawrence of Arabia , where the Brits divide the Turks and Arabs for good and show themselves to be heroes. It is true story and a classic movie. If Lawrence had not been in Arabia , the whole world would have been different today. You would have had a totally modern middle east ( Remember Turkey’s Kamal Attaturk) highly reformed like the renaissance in Europe or like the reformers did in Indian way of practice ( The reason for Indian contributing to science and technology in a magnificient way globally. One outstanding aspect is the way Indians contributed to the IT revolution and due to the reformers in India way of practice , this has happened. You go anywhere in the world, Indians are identified as IT specialists. Indians almost lead the Silicon Valley. Even now , you will find a lot Indians there. All credit to the reformers in India way of practice). I write this because just getting hurt by a insignificant Bollywood potboiler is like pointing a finger and thumb at this , when actually three fingers are pointing at your end. Even though the subject is SD, this post has dealt as a comparision to the stereotyping in Hollywod and Bollywood.

    Comment by gajanan — January 27, 2009 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  24. Parents complain that the kids not paid well for SD.

    Bas kaaro yeh Oscar
    De do en Masoomko Seena Thaankar.

    Let the producers adopt the entire lot of kids and their family and educate them well either in India or in Great Britain.

    Comment by gajanan — January 27, 2009 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  25. Looks like they have even outsourced exploitation. The SD producers have made super profits. They should then educate the star children in Eaton school in Great Britain, the equivalent of Doon School in India, The parents of the kids should be given posh houses in Mumbai and monthly payment and food should be given to them on daily basis. They should be taken care while their kids get educated in Great Britain. Then when the kids grow up there should be reservation for these kids in the top schools in Great Britain like Cambridge and Oxford Universties. Then only it will neutralise and erase the word exploitation. Will they do this ? A Big Ask.

    Comment by gajanan — January 27, 2009 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  26. Shaan..please dont make it painful to respond to you. Why do you provoke by intentionally misreading comments?

    There is no question of having narrowed down to ‘switch of names”. That was in response to your strange analogy.

    I wonder if your “Let me tell you why the switch of name in SM does not bother me” has anything to do with your following the Muslim faith. Much as I would like to desist from making such statements your constant niggling does provoke. Not to forget that not too long ago you had refused to believe that Kasab was a Pakistani and doctored in various tame arguments. It was only after Pakistan conceded the fact that you quietened down.

    It was not a question of cross religion love story ( which are a dime a dozen ..its either a rich poor barrier or a hindu Muslim..examples.. Veer Zaara, Gadar, Bombay, Jodha Akbar, one can go on and on and now Delhi 6 ) Latikas religion was never established..and is of least importance in the story. You know deep within that the ‘switch’ was definitely to fan the Hindu Muslim divide. Why would a maker want to indulge in political gimmicks?

    Please make your comments worthy of response Shaan.. you can do better than that.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 27, 2009 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  27. Gajanan ji..perhaps you dont know the history of Shaan Khan on Sachiniti and elsewhere. He can bring in Mr Bachchan on a discussion to do with the blueness of the sky. So I suggest you relax.. he will never get convinced on that score. Funnily Shaan loses all his intelligence, wit and class when he involves Mr Bachchan..but for some reason he feels compelled to do so.

    #26 & #27 say it all. Absolutely.. Like I said in my post ..just parading our poverty to make your bucks is cheap. Its like filming a real murder and walking away to quickly make it into a film and pocket the profits. Where is your obligation as a human being?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 27, 2009 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  28. Kav

    It appears you are trying your best to NOT address the issue. You have thrown everything at me except the kitchen sink and now with # 28 you have accomplished that too. Please note that it was via my “twenty questions” that we finally even arrived to what was troubling you about SM.

    Anyway before we go any further, let me address 26/11. I stand by my position. It smells like a “False Flag” operation. There are TOO many things that don’t add up. The erasing of the face/identity reminds one op similar occurrence in Algeria. The drugs in the blood is another red flag. Just a handful of “terrorist” causing so much damage is bothersome. Above all the ATS chief who was investigating some deluded self professed Hindus (decent Hindus would never do such things) is the tipping point. Hence in a world where a former UK citizen, now a US citizen can be the head of Sony (Japan); In a world where an Australian cricketer can play for an Indian team; and an Indian cricketer can play for an English county team, I don’t find it implausible that a Pakistani could play for a non native team. But this thread is not about 26/11. It is about SM. Suffice it is to say, that those that perpetuated the the horrible crime should pay for the evil they have done. My prayers are with the victims.

    SM is a tribute to Indian die hard spirit. It shows that anything is possible. It celebrate the fact that, given all the circumstances that should divide Hindus and Muslim, they live together and find ways to love and care. Given SM’s priority, I am willing to overlook some cinematic license. As I said previously, in absence of the essence of SM I too would have been upset. But SM is too beautiful a message to allow it to be tarnished by hate mongers.

    Please show me a similar balance in the Bachchan movie ? Please show me why you do not consider “Daaraouna” fanning “Hindu Muslim Divide”. I am willing to accept that perhaps you do not see main arc of SM. I am willing to accept that you have missed the beauty of SM message. Moreover you have a right to your views. But your credibility depends on showing you are consistent. I cannot take your protest against SM seriously if you cannot show why you did not protest a similar evil act by the Bachchans (Please don’t go an a tangent again, the Bachchans dragged themselves into this debate and you dragged them in this thread).

    Comment by Shaan Khan — January 27, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  29. really disturbed also at the depiction in the film. have seen it first day and found it okay.Certainly not Oscar material. So many flaws that i wonder why we blame only Bollywood for senseless masala flicks.

    I want to ask you a question. From a purely critic point of view what would you say about the film. Not an Indian, just a film enthusiast how did you find the film.

    Also i must add you show real patience with Shaan 🙂 I would have by now banned him 🙂 He goes round and round like a jalebi with lots of untruths. I have read him on other blogs also. Shaan please talk to the point. This drona comparison and all that is useless.


    Comment by Krishnan — January 27, 2009 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  30. The Hare Krishna fellow had requested to type 1943 famine and I got an item from a interesting web site.

    “Arthur Herman’s excellent and balanced Gandhi & Churchill (New York: Bantam, 2008, reviewed in Finest Hour 138: 51-52). There is quite a lot on the Bengal Famine (pp 512 et. seq.), which Herman believes “did more than Gandhi to undermine Indian confidence in the Raj.” Secretary of State for India Leo Amery, Herman writes, “at first took a lofty Malthusian view of the crisis, arguing that India was ‘overpopulated’ and that the best strategy was to do nothing. But by early summer even Amery was concerned and urged the War Cabinet to take drastic action…. For his part, Churchill proved callously indifferent. Since Gandhi’s fast his mood about India had progressively darkened…..[He was] resolutely opposed to any food shipments. Ships were desperately needed for the landings in Italy….Besides, Churchill felt it would do no good. Famine or no famine, Indians will ‘breed like rabbits.’ Amery prevailed on him to send some relief, albeit only a quarter what was needed.”

    The Review gets an opinion from historian Arthur Herman who, notwithstanding his “Churchill proved callously indifferent” above, states, QUOTE: “The idea that Churchill was in any way ‘responsible’ or ‘caused’ the Bengal famine is of course absurd. The real cause was the fall of Burma to the Japanese, which cut off India’s main supply of rice imports when domestic sources fell short, which they did in Eastern Bengal after a devastating cyclone in mid-October 1942”. However this is simply incorrect.

    1998 Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen (Harvard University, formerly at Cambridge University, who witnessed the Bengal Famine as a child and was awarded the Nobel Prize for studies on famines, including the Bengal Famine) is quite clear that the Bengal Famine was NOT due to absence of food but to greatly elevated price in a merciless, British-ruled free market in which those who couldn’t buy food simply starved. Burma occupation, Churchill’s shipping cut-backs, and divide-and-rule British granting of Indian provincial food autonomy and other factors all contributed to the real killer – the huge increase in the price of rice, the Bengali staple that led to millions starving in the midst of plenty”

    Will have to read the book Gandhi and Churchill for this.

    Comment by gajanan — January 28, 2009 @ 4:57 am | Reply


    What does Rahman know about ghazals?: Jagjit Singh

    “Earlier, in the 60s and 70s, 90% of the music was based on the ghazal. Today, there’s no poetry phrasing, it’s all Western and the language is tapori — a mix of English and Hindi. What kind of lyrics are Pappu can’t dance saala?”

    Well said , Jagjit bhai. The class of Madan Mohan’s ghazals still rings in my ears. The Chirag song ‘ Teri Aankhon ki seeva , Duniya me raakha kya hai ‘ Rafi just sings it like malai kofta.

    Rahman’s music is catchy and zazy , but he should insist on good lyrics , for shabd is the forte of Indianness. The present generation likes Rahman’s music which is as Jagjit says is a bit tapori. Is the present generation so taporified?

    Comment by gajanan — January 28, 2009 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  32. Krishnan I ma going to put up a mini review of SDM maybe tonight.

    Gajanan ji ..yes I read through a whole lot on 1943. Churchill also said, when informed of the famine’ “Is that so..then why isnt Gandhi dead yet?”

    the exodus from villages to cities began then. In other words Britain helped create the slums and now term them as Slumdogs. I have been so angry the past few days have a constant migraine. That is how much the idiocity , mediocrity, publicity of the film and the associated undeserved hype has gotten to me.Either the whole world is gone nuts or we have.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 28, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  33. Why not movie on this?

    Starting scene

    A 80 yr old man after watching SDM with his middle class family telling his extended family the story of 1943 famine….. and the way the Raj reacted to this. Before this there should be a lively discussion within the family on SDM.

    One could show one in the family as a defender of the Raj saying the Raj was focussed on fighting Germany. The old man diagreeing with this and recounting that this 1943 famine was man made due to mismanagement.

    Then flashback to 1943. Show the first scene as the Raj rulers having some sumptous meal of the back of a pig (hog) and mouthing all meany comments on Indians. This part is difficult part to write. It has to be absorbing and telling and the Raj rulers must be shown their true colors.

    The script should go forwards and backwards to 1943 and then to the extended families discussion on SDM. I have already given the title

    ” Bump Hog Billionaires”

    Any one can pick on this and develop a script as a counter to SDM.

    Comment by gajanan — January 29, 2009 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  34. Hahaha.. In fact Gajanan ji..I am already working on the script. Doing research and ordered some books.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 29, 2009 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  35. Read the review written by Mathew S. He has torn the movie to shreds.

    Comment by gajanan — January 29, 2009 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  36. All stray dogs named after the SDM stars. Good show by Nicolas Almeida. Do it at All India level

    Wah kya baat hai . This is Mumbaivity at its best.

    Comment by gajanan — January 29, 2009 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

    • Fantastic links gajanan ji.Thanks.

      Also read the link at the bottom of my piece..i have just posted it. It more or less speaks in the same strain as my post which I had written a week earlier. Apparently critics now are beginning to realise what i had felt immediately..that is this film is a con game.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 29, 2009 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  37. hi kaveetaa
    nice write up, though i dont necessarily agree. boyle is within his creative rights to make a movie about anything he wants to. i found the movie hugely entertaining although it is by no means the best movie made this year, not by any stretch of the imagination. most of it was bollywood warmed over- with staples like good brother , bad brother and young love etc etc. but there was incredible energy which would have been missing if the director was indian. in any case we have to stop being so over sensitive and defensive about india. we are still a 3rd world country whether we like it or not.



    Comment by monsoonair — January 31, 2009 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  38. Monsoonair..yeah ‘bollywood warmed over’ is an innovative description.

    I am being sensitive about India but certainly not defensive. If you notice one is not denying the existence of slums or poverty.But makers wishing to cash in on it for a few bucks or recognition is not something I can stomach.Their insensitivity is what I object to. You have manipulated a story to show our warts.Getting rich while mercilessly trodding on our poverty is the cause of this angst. Their intentions arent noble. Film making is intrinsically a divine art…One would desist from attacking it. But blatant misuse, exploitation of liberties conferred on you by a ‘third world country’ought to shake up your conscience.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 31, 2009 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

  39. Kavita,

    I happened to see this film today. Great movie!. Good music, Cinematography and engaging story. I loved the way the SRK/Bachchan gameshow was merged into the story.

    Comment by Anuj — January 31, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

  40. Good on you Anuj. I am a great lover of Cinema irrespective..wish I could share your enthusiasm on the film.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — January 31, 2009 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

  41. Three cheers for Yuki Bhambri, the new Junior Australian Tennis Champion. This is excellent news , when we find 26/11, SDM on the negative side.

    Hope Kaveetaji you have a time to write a script for “Bump Hog Millionaires”.
    Good luck for the counterscript.

    Post 35 gives you an idea.

    Comment by gajanan — February 1, 2009 @ 5:46 am | Reply

  42. Sorry ” Bump Hog Biilionaires”

    Comment by gajanan — February 1, 2009 @ 9:45 am | Reply

  43. Hi, I have been to this blog a no: of times and I found quite a lot of nice posts. However I disagree with this post. Why should we overeact so much just because a foreigner showcased the truth of what happens in India that too in a brilliant way. The creativity is simply awesome.Its time we grow up and be mature audiences appreciating the story as such and not giving any double meanings to it. If the author’s concern is about cashing in on India’s poverty, then that is quite unfopunded because most of the run of the mill bollywood flicks I have seen do cash in on the poverty in India. The rich-poor divide has been depicted in quite a lot of movies by our very desi directors, but unfortunately they lacked the creativity and talent to showcase a story in a brilliant manner. Even they have made these movies for commercial reasons then why has there been no public outcry against them? This shows profound inferiority complex. As to the name slumdog, in the movie the protogonost is literally treated like a dog by our very own desi police and upper class people. If our very own countrymen treat their fellow countrymen with such callousness, then why shower brickbats on a foreigner who only portrayed the truth of what happens in the underbellies of Mumbai?

    Comment by sanjana — February 1, 2009 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  44. Disagree if you may. No issues. As expected, I disagree with almost all of the arguments raised by you. Responding to each will practically mean repetition of the 1500 odd words post so it is redundant.

    words like ‘awesome’ and brilliant for this film are IMO not applicable so our divergence begins right there.

    Expatiate on “because most of the run of the mill bollywood flicks I have seen do cash in on the poverty in India”,A rich poor divide is certainly not the same as what SDM has portrayed.That is really a simplistic and fragile argument.

    My intention behind writing this post was not to convert anyone to my line of thinking. A blog is a mode of personal expression. Feel free to disagree, ignore, concur, whatever pleases you.

    Thanks for dropping in.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 1, 2009 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  45. Gajanan

    After you get over the bashing the west moment. Consider the following:

    The medicine (financed and researched in the West) in your medicine cabinet is sold at 10+ times in USA as compared to India. Likewise the text books (written and published by Western companies) .

    Please explain why the West would subsidize the medicine and text book for India when it is such a racist place. Does this fact not make all those making false accusation against the West look ungrateful ?

    Comment by Shaan Khan — February 1, 2009 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  46. Kaveetaji, you have written a good piece, and articulated your view very well indeed. Having said this I must add that I don’t agree with you at all.
    I hope you’ll not mind my expressing a contrary opinion.

    Firstly – “slumdog” is what the policeman calls Jamal while trying to thrash out the truth from him. At one point the other policeman calls Latika a “slum b****”. It’s a derogatory word in the crude language of those men – used as a catchy phrase for the title – at least that’s my understanding (because i really don’t see any hidden agenda on the part of Boyle here).
    I for one am certain he isn’t calling the slumdwellers, dogs. As for those smiling children in the picture….. it speaks for itself. 🙂
    The title makes one want to know the circumstances in which this is used (at least it did me).

    Secondly – We Indians always get angry whenever India’s poverty is talked about. There are innumerable articles and TV programmes showing the development of India and it’s rising economy, it’s computer geniusness, yoga, meditation, culturural heritage. I think ‘this’ is the onesided image rather than the slum one.
    If we weigh slum vs progress discussions about India in foreign countries, the latter will far outweigh the former.

    Thirdly – the film is really liked by the majority and to label them as being lovers of Indian poverty is unfair. It has a powerful effect on many, keeps you glued – and above all is not condescending or patronizing at any point. At least to me it doesn’t seem so.
    Personally I consider it a very good film and worthy of all the awards it is getting.
    Awards are always maligned when one doesn’t approve of who gets them. I hated ‘American beauty’ and felt the standard of the awards was really low. LOL!

    That it isn’t like the novel – is a complaint more often heard than not, about any film adaptation of any novel. The name changed to Jamal I can understand. It gave the character an identity. That’s the difference between a book and a life like film.

    Fourthly – I wonder if those complaining about this show know about the slum tours- a tourist attraction.
    here’s a link;


    Last of all. There is a lot of complaint about other Indian films about this subject not getting international recognition.
    The point is – SDM is an English film and easily qualifies to get into the main award category at Oscars.
    Any other films would have to be entered by the authorities in their respective countries in the ‘foreign’ films category (which is a very tough one). So the question is – were these films ever entered by the government?

    In conclusion I’d say that in my opinion SDM is a very good film, and since there has and will never be a film without flaws it too has its share. Then again the flaws of films are arguable because it may seem to some and not to others.

    I leave with a thought to reflect on:
    We normally show the west in a bad light. Films like ‘Des Pardes’ ‘Purab Pachim’. In fact the bad woman/man in films is more often than not a ‘foreign’ returned. Perhaps that’s why we feel the shoe is on the other foot?

    The last word:
    I feel very very sorry for the slum dwellers that there are so many Indians who don’t want them mentioned. If they say that “this is not the way” – then I can only say there will never be a way that the ‘non’ slum dwellers will ever approve, because they would prefer the topic to be hush! hush!

    Comment by pacifist — February 2, 2009 @ 1:59 am | Reply

  47. qq

    Comment by pacifist — February 2, 2009 @ 2:29 am | Reply

  48. ps: I also doubt that Boyle wanted to cash in on Indian poverty because there have been other films too which were neither so successful nor so recognized, and made in the west.

    Regarding hindu muslim divide – what will Boyle gain from it?
    I think his generation is not responsible for the past deeds.
    Is this divide (?) if at all, more potent than the one brought about riots (the non filmi, real ones)?

    Comment by pacifist — February 2, 2009 @ 2:49 am | Reply

  49. It is the Indian pharma industry which made great strides in making the West realize that the purchasing power of Indians including the middle class and poor people is poor. One of the most outstanding example is the way Cipla and many indigenous companies made Western pharmacuetical companies consider the AIDS retroviral cocktails to be supplied at a low cost to African countries. I salute the great Abdul Hamid the owner of Cipla , who with the help of Indian scientists all from India made this possible. These people convinced the Western pharma companies that Africans have very very poor purchasing capacity. The issue was of patents and IP. Now if you patent a drug , which the companies have a right , then the cost goes up exhorbitantly, that is the reason for high prices in US. The reason for this is they take 7.5 yrs to market a drug right from R&D. In dollar terms in the USA , where the purchasing power of each dollar is 53 cents , it is quite reasonable. The purchasing power of Indian rupee is 18 paise and all African currencies are very low.

    Indian pharma scientists, with the help of a visionary like Dr Abdul Hamid , the owner of Cipla convinced the WTO and other major bodies that drug pricing and manufacture should be based on local purchasing power. This is the reason for cheaper drug prices in India. Clinton initiative came because of this great effort of Indians from India. Will they take out a movie on the Indian pharma scientists and call it “LIVE AND LET LIVE — THE INDIAN ACHIEVEMENT” . It was India which forced the issue in drug pricing and not the other way round. The same was applied to text books. Of course text book publishing in India was established much before this drug pricing. There was a lot of hera pheri before , but it is reduced now , due to IT and the signing of copyright act recently via WTO. Still people will photocopy bks, even though it is lllegal. Who can keep a watch on who is photocopying where. It is very difficult to monitor this photocopying.

    I would like to cite the work of Dr Jonas Salk , who refused to patent his polio vaccine and he and his Guru ( with a team) tested it
    free first. When the results came spot on , he gave it to India and African countries. Salk is called the Gandhi of Medicine even by Westerners. In those days, the pharma lobby was very upset with Jonas Salk , but this great gesture by this great man helped many in India and Africa get polio vaccine almost free. Now I think it is free. In fact there is a grapevine. that Salk was denied the Noble Prize , but his colleague Enders ( microbiologist, Salk was a medicine man) was given due to his refusal of patenting the polio vaccine.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 6:34 am | Reply

  50. Gajanan

    Even if we accept everything you said about Dr Abdul Hamid etc, explain why the same price difference prior to that. Hence please let me restate the point, the price have always been subsidized by the Americans/West. We, the so accused racist people have subsidized the medicine and text books (amongst many other things) for Indians/Pakistani/etc.

    Why ? Does that not tell you something ?

    Comment by Shaan Khan — February 2, 2009 @ 7:44 am | Reply

  51. Neem patent revoked by European patent office.

    This was done long time ago by the great lady of India , Vandana Shiva. This has led to preservation of traditional practices intact , without getting into the IP regime. Africa also has the largest biodiversity. This will also help them. Turmeric also could not be patented , due to the efforts of Indian intellect. Will the West ever highlight these achievements in a movie? Well even Bollywood lags in this.

    Patenting agriculture is going to cause a lot of problems in India , China and Africa. The companies will have a monopoly over all the farm products.

    The 1943 famine led to the genesis of slums , till Rang Lal Bahadur Shastri did some repair in 1965. Jai Kisan , Jai Jawan. The Amul diary , the world’s largest cooperative was during Lal Bahadur Shastri’s time. There was a film Manthan made by Shyam Benegal on this and the maker of Amul , Dr Verghese Kurien. These actions by Shastri led to the Green and White revolution in India ( it had some faults like land degradation, but aleast people got their food and the farmers got their due). Now if you patent and corporatise agriculture , just giving piecemeal compensation, the farmer will take his boliya and bistra and land only in places like Dharavi or Delhi’s jhuggi and jopdi. You should understand the sentiments and emotional attachment the farm hands have towards their land. I am not against technology and science , but the profits made by the corporations must be shared with the farmers , till the farmers decide to leave this vocation of farming on their own and not by force. This force is what leads to depression and to suicides.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  52. Prior to that the patent laws were only for product and not for process. In simple terms, you can make the product by a different process route call it by another name and sell. The process routes done were pefectly legal as there was no law to plug it. This loophole was taken into advantage which was plugged in 1996 making the product and process patent one. This requires a lot of explanation. A patent lawyer is required for this. WTO set 2005 as the limit date for this and then an extension was asked for , which went upto 2007. Now it is impossible to make all the medicines for India and Africa in such a short period with new R&D and patent regime. This is where Indians used their ingenuity and had their midnight lamps flicker day in and night to work out a deal. Meanwhile , deaths increased in Africa due to affordability of drugs. Indians succeeded in convincing that , they will manufacture in India all the medicines and based on the costs involved in India , the price will be fixed. This reduced the prices by 60%. The efforts by Indians in India in this matter ( after the loophole got plugged) needs to lauded as it helped many poor countries. The amount of hard work gone to convince the authorities is of gigantic proportions. It was not an easy task.

    This is what Ex President Abdul PJ Kalam saheb says. Indians never project their achievements.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  53. The Indians are *always* projecting their achievements and their glorious past. This is also used as a curtain to shield what one doesn’t want to acknowledge -or only a quick nod – before going on to praises of how great we are.

    The discussions veering off to topics to prove ‘Indian superiority’ gives me the feeling that assurance is needed by some Indians to salvage their damaged egos.

    This in itself is a pointer why slums and poverty gets waylaid in any discussions. People want to discuss only the positive, the superior, the great (with much showing off).
    The slums come in the way of this showing off! Talk about our nuclear power, why that…that…ugly thing?.
    Nobody thinks there is lack of intelligence or development or a place in global economy or other global grounds – where India is concerned.

    These are two sides of the same coin and one has to stop being one dimensional and acknowledge the three dimensional other side.

    When was the last time Indians brought up this topic to be discussed all over the media! the internet! the cafe’s!
    I’m quite amused by all this cringing, ‘the west has them to’ (like Amitabh) attitude, as if that makes it alright.

    People like Michael Moore have made films and written books to show the nagative side (and there are some critics there too)
    I must say SDM and Boyle have done a very good deed.
    Look!! People are now talking of slums!! This *talking* is what seems to be upsetting many.

    Comment by pacifist — February 2, 2009 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

    • Gajanan Ji..brilliant and well informed responses. Thanks.

      Pacifist..Thanks for your comments..One of which had gone into the spam folder because of the links posted therein , which I have since retrieved. Read through and totally understand your contention..but have serious reservations on most of it.

      Talking of ‘slums’ doesnt upset those like me who have chosen to react to the film. Why should it? We havent created them..and neither will empty verbiage at cafes help do away with it. The problem is of such a magnitude that solutions by any single individual or group of individuals is impractical, inscalable.What possible cause for concern can the depiction be except pure love for ones country,great resentment towards an intended denigration of my motherland..not dissimilar to my mother.But I guess this sentiment is alien to many who can repartee to this in the only manner they know. And I will respond in the manner that I know.

      I wonder really why the fans of SDM cannot tolerate criticism of the film, especially since they so vehemently espouse the cause of tolerating denigration of India.. the land of our birth ? You have the right to diss but little patience to swallow it eh?

      It also is summarily a matter of priorities, values and ethics and above all standards that one has set for oneself. You see I would rather spend precious time expressing objection to the exploitation of the miseries of my country, encashing on her poverty and stand up for it Some would rather stand up for and defend a movie.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 2, 2009 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  54. Why call the slum boys and girls as dogs. The producers insist that they have set asidesome money for schooling till they are 18 yrs. They have made tons of money on this movie. Why dont these producers take them and educate them like royals in Eaton a posh school and have seats reserved for them in Cambridge and Oxford Universties and see that they come out as great men and women. Will they do it?. Phir hum maan lege.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 5:51 pm | Reply

  55. Those slums in which they shot the movie and the slum boys and grils who acted. Even if 25 , they deserve to be educated in Eaton and then in Cambridge and Oxford. The producers have made the money. Will they do it? It will fulfill Bernard Shaw’s dream of making a D grade student into A grade scholar.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  56. Refer to this link Gajanan ji.. Although I think it is an extreme reaction in the sense that although it is logically inferable yet Indians ought not to resort to a tit for tat.

    As for your comment #58..true.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 2, 2009 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

    From the above web site

    “Boyle has arranged to pay about 1,500 rupees ($31) monthly for their fees and other living expenses above the money paid for their work. Fox Star Studios, which released the film in India, said their wage was three times the average local annual adult salary for a month’s work, but they would not give a figure”

    In the same newspaper see site extract below.…/418167/

    ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has earned a whopping USD 67,244,000 in its 12 week run in the US with a average earning of USD 4,703 per theatre according to a movie website.

    Average earning of USD 4,703 dollars per theatre. The first web site mentions

    Just see the “justice” for the two kids quoted in the first web site.

    Comment by gajanan — February 2, 2009 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  58. Kaveeta ..good post. but i want to write about something else. i had written last time also that you must ban shaan khan from your blog. have you read what he writes on amitabh bachchan and other people? you will feel like vomitting. He is banned from Naachgaana also that is why somebody told you there to avoid Shaitaan khan.
    if you dont believ me read this what he has written on his blog about all Bachchans. He is cheap and gutter quality.

    and now read what he has written about a NG member Akshay on another site.

    NKS, Akshay Shaggo (in all his manifestations including Nisha Shaggo and Gobber Shah), S.S.Sunderum (including Septic etc), Dr Dang etc are racist pigs. Their position is not based on logic or wisdom, it is pure evil. They will sell their mother or do worse if that will enable them to make a Muslim, leave alone SRK look bad. Their love for Bachchalan or Akki is just based on their racism. They know SRK is better, they know SRK is the King, but they will repeat their nonsense only because sense does not suit their irrational & evil position. Hence please do not worry, before Akki they loved Ajay Pan Stain Devgan & Sunny Deol too.

    Pasted from

    you dont know much about him? he is TRASH. you must not let him write here.I like your posts but when i see shaan khan writing i dont feel like commenting.Please believe me and then do what you have to.


    Comment by Gaurav — February 2, 2009 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  59. Kaveeta.. when u said “The point is that this is once too many. If this were to be a one off, a first time that Indias poverty was the focal point of a Westerners or for that matter an ambitious Indians lens, the reaction mightnt have been so strong. But each time that Indias story is told, its either the extinct Maharajahs and their palaces or the slums that take center stage. Enough is enough. If the intention behind is to exploit Indias misery to make your bucks, I have the right to strongly object to this mentality.”

    It struck a chord. if we look back, right from satyajit Rays pather Panchali to salaam bombay or Lagaan, water, ..whichever film has been most readily accepted it is about the poverty depicted.So this is another in the list. Danny boyle could never have come close to the oscar podium if his other films are seen.

    Also in the story the flaws are too many. But what i disliked is the girl having had sexual relations with the brother and the younger one accepts her. this is not about India but Boyles India.. whether it is to do with what he wants to show or what he wants his characters to do.
    agree on also this that you have said in the comments.

    “It also is summarily a matter of priorities, values and ethics and above all standards that one has set for oneself. You see I would rather spend precious time expressing objection to the exploitation of the miseries of my country, encashing on her poverty and stand up for it Some would rather stand up for and defend a movie.”

    I would maybe watch a SIK but not SM.

    Comment by Jatin Lall — February 2, 2009 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  60. The link did not get posed..will it go into spam again if I post the link? my previous coment i think went into spam becoz it got posted late.pleass take it out from there..this is where he has written nonsense

    He only writes FOR SRK..even Krishnan said on top in comment 31 that you should ban him.

    Comment by Gaurav — February 2, 2009 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  61. You have misunderstood me Kaveetaji.
    I was neither dissing nor unable to take criticism of the film by others.
    I was just joining in a debate and trying to negate certain arguments, which in turn can be done to mine.

    If one looks at the film, the slum scenes are a fraction of the whole thing.
    Not once have they wallowed in their slum lives nor shown the details by getting into their houses.

    I feel more hurt when I see the ‘real’ thing!!
    The beggars with wierdly distorted legs, on the trains, especially around Maharashtra region, the garbage dumps which one can see from the road in Mumbai and children rummaging through it.

    My appreciation of it being discussed in cafe’s etc is that *awareness* has come in a more forceful way than just insensitively.
    I’m not sure how many of those now unhappy with the film have ever spared any thought with more than a cursory acknowledgement.

    My sentiments about my motherland accept the slum and the dwellers as people who I will acknowledge. That a film about them made money is something that happened. Just as films about concentration camps do.

    It’s unfortunate that the film is being used as a measuring yard for those who love their motherland as their mother (thus are against the film) and those who don’t love their motherland – like the film.

    I think I love my motherland and am not ashamed of anything.
    The rest can cringe, because that’s how it sounds to me. The hurt seems to be their ego.
    Priety Zinta’s comment sums it all up;
    “Now the world will think India is one big slum” – she’s so worried about what the world will think.
    The world should think everyone lives in villas (as in her films) and it is full of plump well dressed children.

    I’m trying hard to understand the hurt to motherland that people are talking about. Ego, ego, ego is all I see. I’m sorry, but I love my motherland as much (if not more) – without being hurt by the film.

    Comment by pacifist — February 2, 2009 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  62. My God Kaveetaa the links in #62 are downright atrocious. I have read many a piece of shite ( pardon my French) but this is the pits!! Who is this person and what is he doing here? I think too that he should be shown the door.

    Pacifist while the rest of your comment above reads ok but these lines sound really harsh “Ego, ego, ego is all I see. I’m sorry, but I love my motherland as much (if not more) – without being hurt by the film.”

    I think not only have you missed the point but are adding dimensions not present. Would you consider an abuse to your mother and your retaliation a matter of ego? Would you react out of love or an assault to your ego? This is a weird logic friend.

    Comment by Jatin Lall — February 2, 2009 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  63. Hi..long time.But I come back and see full form 😉 Jai ho!!Ok so hat means I have seen the film.I was not in India fo a while returned last week and this film I saw first. i dont know what to say. what hits you when you first reach bombay is the smell and the dirtiness. I got so angry really. maybe that is why this film didnt upset me becuse i was upset with Bombay and the govt. For gods sake why dont they do something about it. I feel that if you. live in Mumbai then the bond is strong but those living outside of India or even outside bombay then the anger doesnt happen. The writer Swarup didnt write the fil when he was in Mumbai but in London. the connect is not there. i feel all those who have commented here and have not been affected must be mostly from abroad. pacifist I agree and disagree with you. Agree that you feel for Indians but disagree when you say that you love your country and yet feel no need to condemn Sm. I can say openly I DONT love my country. I am disgusted with it.. so SM leaves me cold. But you Kaveeta have always been charged and passionate about india and all that. Everybody cannot share that for different reasons. I dont know if I have made sense..but had to vent.Always told you that that shaan fellow is nuts..the pits! But your post is well put together but I dont feel anything for India being depicted the way it has been. Maybe i will feel differently in a few days 🙂

    Comment by Neha — February 2, 2009 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  64. #67
    “”i feel all those who have commented here and have not been affected must be mostly from abroad……
    …..Agree that you feel for Indians but disagree when you say that you love your country and yet feel no need to condemn Sm””

    Actually it’s the people from abroad who get very affected. In my experience Indians are quite insensitive to these things.
    This is the reason why I don’t understand the passionate attacks. The reason why I think it has to be ego.

    #66 @ Jatin Lall
    “”Would you consider an abuse to your mother and your retaliation a matter of ego? Would you react out of love or an assault to your ego? This is a weird logic friend.””

    That’s the point. I don’t see any abuse. The word dog is not meant for all the slum dwellers as I have mentioned in an earlier post.
    I think there is some confusion here.
    There seem to be two things one is reacting to.
    -one is the life of the slum dwellers
    -the others is the slum background shown in the film
    (the two are not the same)

    While the first is something I always react with compassion to, and have been feeling for them all my life – the second – I don’t mind slums being shown in the film.
    I feel for the young characters, sure, but that doesn’t arouse feelings of ‘this is an assault on my mother’.

    Haven’t we seen scenes of suffering before? Mother India has been groaning with this assault long before the film was made.

    The struggle of the three orphans could have been any where any place.
    There is no scene involving demeaning of other dwellers. The film concentrates on just the three.
    We don’t see inside anyone’s house. We are not shown any untoward scenes.
    The sh** scene is Boyle’s trademark. In another film about a drug addict he has shown the character dive into the toilet to rescue a tablet.
    It isn’t specific to this film. It doesn’t even have anything to do with slums – it is just showing the steely determination of young Jamal.

    The scenes of garbage is the only one I can associate with slums, and some of the scenes when they show the boys running.

    The scene near Taj Mahal where the policeman hits Jamal is a very common scene. I’ve personally witnessed them.

    So NOW, if such scenes are shown in a film it beccomes an assault on your mother otherwise it’s ok???

    **It’s an assault all the time** The insensitivity, the juxtaposition of plenty and nothing, skyscrapers next to slums, etc. – is an assault!!!
    Why?? Why?? is it an assault only in the film?

    ******The scenes in the film are nothing compared to what one can witness personally. Just take a walk, and you’ll see.******

    So the accusations that if I don’t condemn the film I don’t love my country is laughable.
    Again and again I come to the conclusion that it is only for ego and ‘what will the world think’ that people are attacking the film.

    Comment by pacifist — February 3, 2009 @ 2:41 am | Reply

  65. Post 60, web site related.

    So the calcutta gentleman was right in his saying about the Dogs and Indians equation in British India.

    My fellow Hare Krishanaites who served food in Iraq two years back , were suprised to hear the Pro-war Iraqis call the antiwar Iraqis ( a large number) occasionally as dogs. This used to surprise them. It turned out that for some yrs Iraq was also British colony. So you see, the Inheritance of colonial abuse is there.

    In Post 60, web site quoted, the slum dwellers have named stray dogs with the lead stars name of SDM. Yes, the word dog is an insult to self respect. The producers should remove the word “dog”

    Comment by Krishnadas — February 3, 2009 @ 5:09 am | Reply

  66. “Smile Pinki, nominated for Best Documentary — Short Subject, has gone largely unnoticed”

    See the title when you click ” Another slumdog”. What is this going on with our media? When the documentary maker has called it Smile Pinki, this web site calls it another slum dog. The media , what must one say of it. This is contagious slavery.

    Happy to know that a documentary of a poor girl has been nominated for Oscars this year and kudos to the producers for not using some yera gera words, but giving dignity to the children , by naming it Smile Pinki.

    Comment by gajanan — February 3, 2009 @ 7:49 am | Reply

  67. >a documentary of a poor girl
    OH NOOOOO!!! Another poverty story gains attention!! 😉

    It seems finally the objection has boiled down to the use of the word ‘dog’. Yes, it would have been much better if this word wasn’t used in the title, just as several rags to riches stories of Amitabh Bachan where he proclaimed again and again about his nickname as ‘naali ka keeda’ wasn’t used as the name of the film.

    I think this going back to colonial times every time something like this crops up is a sign of inferiority complex and we Indians should get over it pronto!!

    If it can soften the blow we can think of various Indian names such as ‘oye tu CHAMAAR/BHANGI/HARIJAN/NEECH etc etc’, and forgive them for calling anyone a dog (how dare they???!!) Only we can call are fellow Indians by derogatory names and segregate them (and not allow them to enter clubs…errr…temples).

    I think all this SDM bashing by a section of rich Indians has gone too far now.

    Comment by pacifist — February 3, 2009 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  68. Hi…amamzing blogs I must say!!..I would like to introduce you to a network called…It is a citizen journalist website for the youth of Delhi NCR. Please join it and contribute with your ideas on contemporary issues.

    Comment by Ankit Nagori — February 4, 2009 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  69. I had earlier written ” Bump Hog millionaire”
    Here you go Dev Patel’s family is proud of his debut quoted in the web site below.

    My intution has partly come right. Kahe se kahe gaya.

    Comment by gajanan — February 5, 2009 @ 4:39 am | Reply

  70. Hi all..sorry for the inordinate silence. Am out of town. Shall return and respond.I do access everyday nevertheless..since answering back will take up some time even if not exactly in Pacifists tone :)(live up to your id mate)will do so shortly.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 6, 2009 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

  71. # 74;
    (live up to your id mate)

    Yes, I agree, my tone was not pacifistic (?) at all. So to prove that I am one, I apologise for it. But only for the tone, and not for what I wrote.

    It’s just my frustration showing because, I fail to see “assault on mother” etc kind of thinking, but am willing to be explained to “how”?

    Comment by pacifist — February 7, 2009 @ 3:52 am | Reply


    Rahman AR has advised Indians to make their own fimm like the one made by Danny Boyle. Good suggestion by ARR.

    Why not on this “Besides, Churchill felt it would do no good. Famine or no famine, Indians will ‘breed like rabbits.’ Amery prevailed on him to send some relief, albeit only a quarter what was needed.” Refer Post 32 for this. This will make a good storyline. Imagination is required for this. C’Mon Sachinitas , Let the force be with you for your creativity to peak out a great script.

    Comment by gajanan — February 7, 2009 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  73. Hi there,
    I doubt that all those people who are cribbing so much about a fabulous movie havent seen this Brazilian movie named “City Of God”. This movie was baed on a true story of the slums in Rio De Janiero. Come on People please be broad minded!!!!!!!!! I do completely agree that first of all India doesnt have a caliber as of now to make such movies. & I was really happy when Mira Nair’s Water went to the Oscars from the country Canada & not India Coz Indians deserve only shitty movies. So I guess India will still take time to accept these type of movies. Slumdog Millionaire has a great chance of winning the Best Film Of the year award. I am expecting it to get at least 5 out of 10 awards. A . R Rahman…Yu RULE…. He has always been my favourite & will always be.


    Comment by Prasenjit — February 8, 2009 @ 12:52 am | Reply

  74. Since people are quoting leaders who said things more than half a century ago, I thought I’d link this article where the British Prince Charles has something to say about the slums in Mumbai – which he has visited during one of his trips to India.

    Comment by pacifist — February 8, 2009 @ 2:58 am | Reply

  75. “more durable gains than those delivered through the present brutal and insensitive process of globalisation that is shaping so many aspects of how we live”. Prince Charles from the above clip post 78.

    See another of his good speeches.

    “To me, the answer is pretty straightforward. I want to see trust being put back in individual farmers, with their knowledge of the land and their skills honed over generations, and thus helping them find the sustainable solutions which respect – rather than upset”

    In the end of the speech.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I would just like to leave you with a quote from Gandhi. As he so wisely said: ‘we may utilize the gifts of Nature just as we choose, but in her books the debts are always equal to the credits.’

    The entire speech is available here.

    The web site is

    The lady who started this movement is the great Dr Vandanna Shiva. If you have the time go thru the web site and see the book list published in the left side Amazing lady. The list is a testimony of her great intellect.

    Comment by gajanan — February 8, 2009 @ 6:39 am | Reply


    Dabbawala idea gone to USA. Indians implementing this. Reverse Engineering.

    Comment by gajanan — February 8, 2009 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  77. Just see the errors in the movie quoted in the web site.

    In the movie Jamal is asked to name the poet who wrote song Darshan Do Ghanshyam Nath Mori Ankhiya Pyasi during the show- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. He has four options from the show host- Surdas, Tulsidas, Meerabai and Kabir.

    Obviously, none of these is the right answer.

    The producers of the film were unavailable for comment

    The song, Darshan Do Ghanshyam Nath Mori Ankhiya Pyasi, that features in the movie, is from 1957 film Narsi Bhagat which was directed by Devendra Goel.

    Comment by gajanan — February 16, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Reply

  78. Here is the song Hemantda , Sudha Malhotra Manna Dey

    Comment by gajanan — February 16, 2009 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  79. Hi Guys..sorry for the delay in response. Have been out of town keeping my tryst with Mother Nature and in the process maybe with God. Its been a most re invigorating experience and SDM was left far behind in the recesses of the mind.

    Nevertheless…Pacifist its rather difficult if not well nigh impossible to elaborate or expatiate any more than I have already done as to me views on the subject. Yes,. I stand by them as firmly as on day one. The film hit me on the gut level and I felt personally attacked. If you cannot echo the sentiment its most certainly a case of being on two different wave lengths with each of us right. There can be no wrong pov..since it is a perspective.I cannot externally imbibe into you an emotion that doesnt stem from within. But I wouldnt say to you I dont understand why you dont feel this way. I would have expected a similar response from you which contends that you may not agree with my feelings but understand where they come from. Condemnation of a personal angst is imho narrow minded.

    @77 Prasanjit..Needless to say that I most vociferously disagree with every word of your comment..getting into it detailedly is rather cumbersome.

    And ..Water was made by Deepa Mehta not Mira Nair.

    I have seen City of God. Perhaps you didnt notice the title.. ‘God’ and ‘Dog’ arent much different in your lexicon? You are Indian arent you? Why are you speaking from a moral high ground as ‘indians deserve’..etc. Its not very becoming.

    Gajanan ji..Wonderful points. My God such a huge faux pas about the origins of ‘ Darshan do”? Ridiculous. I googled for the truth. This song has been penned by Nepali!! So much for research. I guess they were busy concentrating their energies on how best to locate the dirtiest slums in Mumbai or the sleaziest aspect of slum life. It worked…Bafta gave them 7 awards.The British would love to dwell on how India has remained underdeveloped since they were made to exit.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 16, 2009 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  80. “more durable gains than those delivered through the present brutal and insensitive process of globalisation that is shaping so many aspects of how we live”. Prince Charles from the above clip post 78”

    Now the film SDM is going to win Oscars!!!. The insensitive process of globalization is very much real in SDM. Vikas Swarup sits as Deputy High Commissioner in South Africa. Boyle makes his novel with screenplay into a movie in UK, by picking up young lovely slum children from Mumbai and calls them dogs and churns out a film.

    Prince Charles “This is brutal globalization, friends, Brits and countymen’ Please say it in Shakespearen style. .

    Now a Bhakti movement saint, Surdas, gets caught in this slimy whirlpool of globalization and is thrust credit for filmi lyrics of a 1957 film Narsi Mehta. There was a scientist called Boyle who had his famous law that pressure is inversely proportional to volume, which means more the volume less the pressure required. Well, this Boyle had stuff to make it a rational law. This cinematic Boyle, has no checks and counterchecks as to who really wrote the song. Instead he made a Nepali into Surdas. What dimension would you give to this careless , instant jump into metaphorical toilet of stardom. Yes , Prince Charles , globalization is dimensionless exploitation, with sense and sensiblity flushed into the slushy toilet of despair. Why did Vikas Swarup keep quiet on this. Insensitive globalization, Charlesji.

    So , the hero is not a millionaire if he has anwered wrong. After all it is only a film would be a reply with a sheepish grain from the supporters. Imagination is greater than knowledge would email the script writer as well as the team. What , you mean Fake Knowledge is alright on screen and can be called “What imagination Yaar!!!”.

    Comment by gajanan — February 16, 2009 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

  81. sheepish grain read as sheepish grin.

    Comment by gajanan — February 17, 2009 @ 4:40 am | Reply

  82. Nice blog. Interesting views on SlumdogM. There are many mistakes , infact plenty , one can write a doctoral thesis on this.

    There was great Tamil poet called Subramanya Bharathi who gave a quote , which is relevant to this film

    Vellaikkaran chonnal Vedham
    Namma chonna bedham

    The meaning is like this

    If a white man says it is Ved.
    If we Indians say then it is diagreement.

    See how relevant it is even now.

    Comment by Satyamurthi — February 17, 2009 @ 8:24 am | Reply

  83. The views of a

    T P Sreenivasan is a former ambassador of India to the United Nations, Vienna [Images], and a former Governor for India at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna. He is currently the Director General, Kerala [Images] International Centre, Thiruvananthapuram and a Member of the National Security Advisory Board.

    Extracts from the above web site.
    “He did not say it, but suggested that the movie was cinematic terror against India. But he had not seen the movie or read the novel. “What kind of diplomat is he, who does the job of a drain inspector? Isn’t he supposed to project India in a positive light?” he said of my former colleague, Vikas Swarup

    “Vikas Swarup can explain his novel away, as he has done, by saying that he merely held up a mirror to nature and made a hero of a boy from the slums in celebration of his keen eye and keener brain. Even the word ‘slumdog’ was not his creation. He found a clever story line and wrote a readable novel, though replete with horrible scenes and unpalatable descriptions of his country.

    His book would have raised some eyebrows, but passed to obscurity, like some other creations of diplomatic wordsmiths. But he walked into a trap and sold his rights, without caring to insist that the movie should at least be faithful to his novel. The screenplay has very little to do with the novel itself, except the theme of a millionaire rising from a slum to win a fortune by sheer luck”

    “Many say that the film will do India proud if Rahman picks up three Oscars. In fact, the music is a redeeming feature of the movie. Even the redlight district scene comes to life with the melody of the anklets on dancing feet. But the celebrated song at the end of the movie sounds like a parody of the national anthem with the use of the phrase, Jai ho”

    Eminent writer Chitra Banerjee Divakurni claims that the movie is, after all, fiction and it should not hurt anyone. Could this not be dealt with by an inscription that any similarity with reality is pure coincidence? But the makers of the film took special care to shoot on location and document every detail. The purpose was obviously to make the movie as authentic as possible and make an impact. The adverse reaction to the movie in India is precisely because of its authenticity”

    “Could this not be dealt with by an inscription that any similarity with reality is pure coincidence? ” excellent point by TN Sreenivasan.

    Comment by gajanan — February 17, 2009 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  84. Boyles Law is then Avikas Slumroop.

    Comment by gajanan — February 17, 2009 @ 9:12 am | Reply

  85. See the web site.

    Outpourings of a hurt soul.

    They’ve started calling Indians ‘slumdogs’: Aadesh Srivastava

    Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Bollywood composer Aadesh Srivastava says he is embarrassed to walk on the streets of the US after Oscar-nominated ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ because ‘they have started calling Indians slumdogs’.

    ‘I’m so upset. They’ve started calling Indians ‘slumdogs’, just like ‘coolie’ was a ‘slang’ in Britain. Now in the US I feel slumdog is a ‘gaali’ (slang) for Indians. Mumbai has given me everything,’ Srivastava told.

    ‘To see the city being shown as a place of dirt, filth and crime only is very humiliating. Even I can make a film on child prostitution and paedophilia. But it won’t get Oscars because I am not a ‘gora’ (white),’ added the composer.

    Based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q & A’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is about an impoverished teaboy who wins a quiz show. Directed by British director Danny Boyle, the story is set in the slums of Mumbai. While Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto and NRI Dev Patel played main leads, A.R. Rahman composed the music for the movie. It has got 10 Oscar nominations, out of which three are for Rahman.

    The film was lauded in the West, but it has been criticised by some in India for showing its ugly side by concentrating on grinding poverty.

    ‘What right does the director have to show Mumbai as a slum? Now we are considered a slum city in all parts of the world. Humlog kahin mooh dikhane laayak nahin rahe (we’re unable to show our face anywhere),’ said Srivastava, who watched the movie in Los Angeles this week.

    Srivastava applauds fellow composer Rahman’s music in the movie, but says he’d never be part of a film that makes India look like a slum.

    ‘I’m so upset. It’s a disgusting movie. Being an Indian it was doubly humiliating to be watching the film with Americans. Even if Steven Spielberg asked me to compose music for a film that makes fun of India, I won’t do it,’ he said.

    Being a diehard Amitabh Bachchan fan, Srivastava is appalled by the way the Big B is shown in the film.

    ‘I puked when I saw that kid smeared in shit asking for Bachchan saab’s autograph. ……………………………………………………

    ‘We applaud people who come to our city and spit in our faces!’ he said.

    Comment by gajanan — February 22, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  86. Satyamurthi ji…thanks for the reference. Indeed it is as applicable today as then. Human nature seldom changes drastically. In fact this was the cause for concern as elucidated in my post.

    Gajanan ji , TP Sreenivasns views are on the dot ““What kind of diplomat is he, who does the job of a drain inspector? Isn’t he supposed to project India in a positive light?” he said of my former colleague, Vikas Swarup”

    What is upsetting is the lack of concern shown by Swaruo over what Boyale has metamorphed the film into. As author of the story if he was a writer wirth his salt he ought to have signed an MOU sttating that no changes would be made that were so drastic in nature. But I guess he was too overjoyed as being the titular writer of the film that no other concern took precedence. NONE of the questions in his book have been included. Its just the core idea.

    Aadesh Srivastavas angst and experience is expected but not surprising. Of course now we will be universally mocked at as ‘slumdogs’ the moment a race decides to deride us. Those Indians who are oblivious to this eventuality presently too kicked about the Oscars and all of that will perhaps be the ones who will bear the brunt of this the most. Perhaps only then they will come to realise the long term manifestations and outcome of this shameful episode. Maturity in reactions or future fallouts is something most cannot and do not train their thoughts on. Neither are they willing to accept warnings by those like us who have instantly recognised the game for what it is. They are too concerned about ridiculing our objections not willing to recognise that probably they are immature and gullible.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 22, 2009 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  87. […] sweeps up at Brit Oscars [4] ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ Ledger lead Oscars betting [5] Of Slumdog Millionaire, Oscars And India ” Sachiniti [6] Slumdog‘ Child Actors Will Attend Oscars | Access Hollywood – Celebrity […]

    Pingback by slumdog millionaire oscars — February 23, 2009 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  88. Hollywood needs some lessons on cultural sensitivity, which they certainly lack. I’m disgusted at the way India has been portrayed in this movie. Slum dwellers in Mumbai (and everywhere in the world) have good reasons to be outraged at anything that portrays them as less than humans. Movies of this type should be denounced and boycotted. BOYCOTT SDM NOW!

    Comment by Oliver Simoes — February 24, 2009 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  89. Well said Oliver. Hollywoods insensitivity may be forgiven but what is mind boggling is the reaction of most Indians especially those settled abroad. Their threshold for acceptance of any denigration of their mother country is met with a ‘so what’ at best or a denigration instead of those who have stood up in protest, at worst. Their standard response being’ Oh these Indians love to protest at the slightest provocation’ see they are so far removed from anything Indian at its core, especially to do with patriotism, love for ones country, moral outrage that all of this seems nonsensical. Somebody ought to pat them on the shoulder and ask them just where do they belong? Some time back a smart alec tried to parody Mahatama Gandhi. This left them unruffled as well. NOTHING bothers such types. As long as they are getting materially nurtured, higher sentiments, values are a bunch of adjectives that are met with utter contempt. So cross eyed are they with the razzle of the western world that in the name of tolerance and flag bearers of the ‘others rights’they would perhaps stop short at nothing except gross indifference.

    The majority subscribe to this description. But it wont stop minorities like me to carry on my show of extreme disgruntlement at the ploy of SDM> Oscars have at last been exposed for what they can be some years. A catering to popular opinion.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 24, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  90. Oscars have a very low rating.

    Only Indians react line this.

    Sandipan Deb in the Indian Express:

    Frankly, I don’t think Slumdog Millionaire deserved the Oscar for best film. And even more frankly, I don’t think Resul Pookutty should have invoked “my country and my civilisation” in his acceptance speech for best sound mixing. India was not up there in the Kodak auditorium for approval. It was a British film financed by the indie subsidiary of an American studio which happened to be set in India and as a result they could not help but involve Indian actors (including Indian-origin Britishers) and shoot it in India. We crave too much for international recognition. A bit too much than is seemly. Even as all of us go around strutting, pretending to be a superpower.

    The writer objects Rasul Pookutty saying about India and the ancient civilization it is. … But I felt by saying this Pookutty did a Poo to the Kutta in SDM.

    Comment by gajanan — February 24, 2009 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  91. […] the original post: Of Slumdog Millionaire, Oscars And India « Sachiniti Share and […]

    Pingback by Of Slumdog Millionaire, Oscars And India « Sachiniti | Music,Mp3 songs,movie,comedy scene — February 25, 2009 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  92. Are people getting some sort of satisfaction by going on and on about; ‘why are slum people being called ‘slumdogs’ etc etc.

    It’s clear to reasonable people that it is the character in the film being called a slumdog by the policeman!!

    I can’t understand how the word is being taken as representing the people who live there.

    The quote from Indian Express is what I have always thought;

    “We crave too much for international recognition. A bit too much than is seemly. Even as all of us go around strutting, pretending to be a superpower.”

    This craving for recognition as the best is really getting unseemly.
    I see *this* as the real reason for all this hullabalooo about the film and the name.
    We don’t want *this* kind of recognition. It should always be as the *best*.

    Yes, Kaveetaji, we are different. While I cringe at the word ‘India a nuclear power’ others feel proud of it. It hits my gut that nukes and slums coexist.
    The sheer chauvinism of many Indians baffles me, such attitudes are destructive.
    50% of the Mumbai population lives in the slum, and all we can do is lament that someone *talked/showed/filmed* it.

    I say – it’s mere existence should be what hits ones guts. And since I already feel that pain this film was only like talking about it – not the one giving me the pain.

    But we are so different Kaveetaji – aren’t we?? 🙂
    I don’t grudge you your opinion at all, but I see too much acrimony being spilled around, churning up hatred.

    I like ARR’s comment – one is always given the choice of hate and love – we can choose one.

    Perhaps AS should improve his behaviour so that people have no need to call him anything bad.
    My cousins who live in US have not heard any such thing.

    Comment by pacifist — February 25, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  93. As for the bhajan by Surdas;

    The original one was definitely written by Surdas in dialect.

    Comment by pacifist — February 25, 2009 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  94. pacifist hope you realise you are getting repetitive and like a broken record.nothing new to say you are harping on the same tune. If your objections are the same what is a new point you are making? All you are doing is expressing your objection to the objections of this post. How long will you do that? Everybody has a right to their viewpoint. How can you question it? I think that cheap reference to Aadesh is uncalled for. Chill!

    Comment by Neha — February 25, 2009 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  95. OK! I will!!
    I thought since everybody else was being repetitive why not me. 🙂

    Comment by pacifist — February 25, 2009 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  96. That wasn’t at all a cheap shot at AS. I’ve always found his comments rather cheap.

    Comment by pacifist — February 25, 2009 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  97. A movie on this subject below would be great neutralizer for Slumdog Millionaire. Details in this web site.

    Kerala nun’s controversial tale in English, Hindi, Marathi soon

    Mumbai (IANS): The controversial book, “Amen – Autobiography of a Nun”, by a Kerala Catholic nun in which she alleges that sexual abuse and homosexuality are prevalent in the Catholic Church in the southern state, will soon be published in English, Hindi and Marathi.

    The book, which has taken the Catholic Church by storm, could hit bookshelves across the country before the Lent period begins on March 10, book’s author Sister Jesme told IANS over phone from Calicut.

    Comment by Santosh — February 26, 2009 @ 6:57 am | Reply

  98. I was just going to write on above post by Santosh. Santosh has put this first. To make a movie on the above it cannot be done by an Indian. Why ? Read for the simple maths of equivalence involved. This is called the Amartya Sen Factor. Here is a conversation between Nobel Prize winnere ASen and Dr RA Mashelkar the former DG of CSIR. The web site

    Click to access noble.pdf

    Now the extract of the conversation between A Sen and RA Mashelkar from the above web site.

    IT WAS IN JUNE 1998 THAT I MET AMARTYA SEN FORthe first time at India International Centre in New Delhi. At the end of our brief conversation, I said: “I hope this will be the year for the big one.” My reference was to the Nobel Prize.He laughed and said: “Do you know Dr Mashelkar, you have to be 10 times as good to win the Nobel Prize if you are an Indian!” In the same year, in October 1998, the Nobel Prize for Economics was declared. Amartya Sen won the prize. I remember sending him a one-line congratulatory message: “After all, you were 10 times as good”

    Now let us call this factor of 10 as Amartya Sen Factor, a handicap in real terms given to a Westerner by ASen. So when a westerner does anything he has 10 times more advantage over Indians

    So what next, Danny Boyle and company should announce making a movie on the post by Santosh. Danny Boyle and company as soon as they announce a movie on ” Amen” , they will start with an Amartya Sen Factor of 10 straight away. Hatrick in Oscars, BAFTA, Golden Globe is on their way.

    Just ss Pappu cant dance ….Danny need not worry …… Another fellow Indian will soon churn out a book or something and their announcement of a movie from the third book will culminate in their hat trick.

    But the question is will Danny Boyle and company have the guts in their guts to make a movie on the Kerala nun’s story ?

    Arrey, Boylebhai, a Keralite or an Indian cannot make it because he cannot take advantage of the Amartya Sen Factor of 10.

    Will AR Rahman play real Beethoven’s Sonata or Will Rasul Pookuuty mix the sounds suited to Kerala? This is great challenge for Dannybhai. Dannybhai if you are Mard-e-Britannia, Kaar de Hatrick.

    Or Boylebhai is SDM your Amen to provoke?

    Hope I have been really Sacchi in my Neeti.

    Comment by gajanan — February 26, 2009 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  99. And posts like the above two are preferable to my repetitions.

    I clearly see the purpose of this blog. It is some sort of hindutva blog! No wonder all this acrimony was being shown.
    This nun must have been a plant by the hindu extremists.
    I see a slow encroachment in many walks of life by them.

    So I’m outta here!!
    Enjoy your hate campaigns, and inferiority complexes.
    Your type sickens me.

    Comment by pacifist — February 26, 2009 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  100. Here is something to ponder over.

    Comment by pacifist — February 27, 2009 @ 2:45 am | Reply

  101. “However, as a believer, I feel Lord Jesus is behind all this. I am merely an instrument. He wants a renewal in the church,” she asserted, explaining that her name itself is a combination of herself and Lord Jesus – ‘Jes’ and ‘Me.”

    One should read the news item posted in 101 ver carefully, then one can realise thr truth. One has to live in Kerala as to what is really happenning there.

    This is from the web site posted in 101. One cannot think that the nun is planted by Hindu extremists. The nun is a firm believer in Jesus Christ and there has been a lot politics and skull drudgery going there. That is the reason she is there with the book. The Editor of ” The Hindu” web site posted in 101 , is a avowed Marxist and his second wife is a Syrian Christian. He would never have given such a coverage without confirming the news and the people involved in that news item. Further , N Ram the editor of the web site has visited Pakistan and is well received in Pakistani media.

    About making a movie proposed by 102. Well, it is good subject for movie, but a difficult one to make. May be a Woody Allen, or an avant gard film maker from Europe could do it. But producers of Slumdog would not be able to make a movie on the ” Amen” esp Danny Boyle as they are not the avant garde type film makers. You require a Ingmar Bergmann or like Satyajit Ray where the camera does the talking and not the players. SDM , in my opinion is a loud movie by avant gard standards. It never made it to the great film festivals of Berlin or Cannes. It would have held no water in these film festivals. SDM is chiselled Bollywood.

    Comment by Thomas — February 27, 2009 @ 4:55 am | Reply

  102. I have lived in Chennai for almost 40 yrs. The Hindu paper may be sounding like a Hindu paper , but it is very very secular. Infact the newspaper sometimes goes overboard. Many will get confused with the paper’s name, but it is not so. N.Ram, the Hindu editor was first married to a British lady and then to the Syrian Christian later after separation from the British lady. N. Ram as Thomas says would have checked it a thousand times before and plus his present wife would have also double checked before putting into print. NRam has been to Pakistan and is well read there. This is a fact.

    There is not a work of some extremist , but the true conscience of a nun speaking. About a movie, not Danny Boyle, he will not be able to handle a serious subject like this. An European offbeat film director like Francois Trauffaut or any good French director , bec the French are good in making such movies.

    Comment by Victor Arputham — February 27, 2009 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  103. I’m very sure of it – just as I am that neither Victor, nor Thomas are your real names. LOL!!

    Comment by pacifist — February 27, 2009 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  104. Indian women (let alone a nun) are by and large very modest.
    They don’t go around publishing books about their sexual exploitation.
    Added to this is dragging their religion through mud!
    Strange woman – one with an agenda – that’s clear to me, at least!!!
    **Writing a Book* – Boy O Boy!!!
    What’s she expecting. Bestseller?? LOL!!

    Comment by pacifist — February 27, 2009 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  105. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

    THIS IS A DREAM JOB! No gimmicks. No catch. Work from home whenever you want!

    Comment by Carli — March 3, 2009 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  106. Extracts from Jabez T. Sutherland article in 1908. How relevant even now.

    I just had tears in my eyes when I read this. Please keep it as a copy. Whenever you see the slums and one is reminded of SDM , revisit this article again.

    “In order to find answers to these questions we must first of all get clearly in mind the fact that India is a subject land. She is a dependency of Great Britain, not a colony. Britain has both colonies and dependencies. Many persons suppose them to be identical; but they are not. Britain’s free colonies, like Canada and Australia, though nominally governed by the mother country, are really self-ruling in everything except their relations to foreign powers. Not so with dependencies like India. These are granted no self-government, no representation; they are ruled absolutely by Great Britain, which is not their “mother” country, but their conqueror and master”

    The above extract is applicable to Vikas Swarup. His was the idea , but he had no self respect, no qualms at all, that that they were like masters in days of the yore. They changed the course of India then and now they have changed the discourse of an idea.

    How relevant the above extract is even now.

    Second extract

    During the first eighty years of the nineteenth century, 18,000,000 of people perished of famine. In one year alone—the year when her late Majesty assumed the title of Empress—5,000,000 of the people in Southern India were starved to death. In the District of Bellary, with which I am personally acquainted,—a region twice the size of Wales,—one-fourth of the population perished in the famine of 1816-77. I shall never forget my own famine experiences: how, as I rode out on horseback, morning after morning, I passed crowds of wandering skeletons, and saw human corpses by the roadside, unburied, uncared for, and half devoured by dogs and vultures; how, sadder sight still, children, ‘the joy of the world,’ as the old Greeks deemed, had become its ineffable sorrow, and were forsaken by the very women who had borne them, wolfish hunger killing even the maternal instinct. Those children, their bright eyes shining from hollow sockets, their nesh utterly wasted away, and only gristle and sinew and cold shivering skin remaining, their heads mere skulls, their puny frames full of loathsome diseases, engendered by the starvation in which they had been conceived and born and nurtured—they haunt me still.” Every one who has gone much about India in famine times knows how true to life is this picture.

    1908 (famines plus mass migartion)+ 70 = 1978, then 1978+31= 2009 = Slums = SDM

    One cause of India’s impoverishment is heavy taxation. Taxation in England and Scotland is high, so high that Englishmen and Scotchmen complain bitterly. But the people of India are taxed more than twice as heavily as the people of England and three times as heavily as those of Scotland. According to the latest statistics at hand, those of 1905, the annual average income per person in India is about $6.00, and the annual tax per person about $2.00.

    Yeh Lagaan hai, ya Lagaan pe Lagaan. Arrey Mitwa, Arrey Mitwa, yeh kya kaar dala re..Arrey Mitwa, Is paar kya music dega re tu?

    “Another cause of India’s impoverishment is the destruction of her manufactures, as the result of British rule. When the British first appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest countries of the world; indeed it was her great riches that attracted the British to her shores. The source of her wealth was largely her splendid manufactures. Her cotton goods, silk goods, shawls, muslins of Dacca, brocades of Ahmedabad, rugs, pottery of Scind, jewelry, metal work, lapidary work, were famed not only all over Asia but in all the leading markets of Northern Africa and of Europe. What has become of those manufactures? For the most part they are gone, destroyed. Hundreds of villages and towns of India in which they were carried on are now largely or wholly depopulated, and millions of the people who were supported by them have been scattered and driven back on the land, to share the already too scanty living of the poor ryot. What is the explanation? Great Britain wanted India’s markets. She could not find entrance for British manufactures so long as India was supplied with manufactures of her own. So those of India must be sacrificed. England had all power in her hands, and so she proceeded to pass tariff and excise laws that ruined the manufactures of India and secured the market for her own goods”

    “Hundreds of villages and towns of India in which they were carried on are now largely or wholly depopulated”

    Kaha gaye woh log. 101 yrs ke baad , their great grand kids, living in slums act in SDM. What a paradox.

    Comment by gajanan — March 5, 2009 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  107. Not really ;-)!!

    The slums are mostly populated with the marginalised muslims who don’t get jobs.

    The kids that acted in SDM are both muslims.

    The way you have linked all shows me a real state of obsession, with this subject.

    Comment by pacifist — March 6, 2009 @ 2:02 am | Reply

  108. correction;
    *unhealthy* obsession.

    Comment by pacifist — March 6, 2009 @ 2:04 am | Reply

  109. One shouldn’t seek to pass on the blame.
    It is less than even being useless, and makes people sit back and satisfy their conscience.

    Once conscience is satisfied, and one feels free of any responsibility – this state will continue.


    Slums exist because people don’t care. They don’t want it talked about.

    Here’s an interesting article from Times Of India–Slumdog-divide/articleshow/4209319.cms

    Slumdog Millionaire has created a deep divide among India’s urbangentsia where none should exist. What’s at issue in this case is really not so
    much the merits or otherwise of Danny Boyle’s movie. What the hoo-ha is really about is India’s poverty, and our reaction to that poverty particularly when it is exposed to a western audience.

    There have been, and are, a number of prominent Indians, from Nargis to Amitabh Bachchan, who have felt that the cinematic depiction of India’s poverty, particularly in films which enjoy foreign viewership, is like washing our dirty laundry in public, making known a terrible family secret, such as incest or child abuse. Yes, of course these unfortunate things do happen, and sometimes in what otherwise are the best of families. But must one haul them out into the open, bringing shame and disrepute on the family? This seemed to be the attitude of ‘Mother India’ Nargis when, years ago, she accused Satyajit Ray of ‘exporting’ India’s poverty through films like Pather Panchali, which arguably is one of the finest and most moving films ever to come out of this country.

    More recently, Bachchan, in a blog that sparked off the current round of controversy on India’s poverty, voiced similar sentiments regarding Slumdog Millionaire. Bachchan seems to find the portrayal of India’s poverty gross and distasteful, rather like cracking racist jokes in front of a racially disadvantaged person, or breaking wind at the dining table. Unpleasant things, like racism, flatulence and poverty do, regrettably, exist. But must we have the bad taste to discuss or exhibit them, more so when guests are present? Wouldn’t it be better all around, more polite and socially correct, to pretend that these awkward things just don’t exist? And of course if you can afford to donate Rs 50 lakh to a temple which you visit with your son and your ‘manglik’ daughter-in-law to be, when you make as much money if not more from commercial endorsements, including an ad for what is billed to be the world’s most expensive suiting material, as you do from your movie roles, poverty must seem like a really insensitive joke or a particularly nasty expulsion of gastric wind.

    On the other side of the Slumdog divide are those for whom poverty is not a joke in bad taste, or a social gaffe but a life-threatening, socially transmitted disease, like AIDS. And, as in the case of AIDS, its exposure and the enhancing of public awareness about it is a moral responsibility on the part of not just those who are victims of it but on the part of all of us. Again, like AIDS, poverty is not a crime; what is a crime is the wilful perpetration of poverty by suppressing knowledge about it and consequently forestalling efforts to combat it.

    Poverty, like AIDS, is not shameful. What is shameful is that more than 60 years after independence poverty continues to exist in our midst, in the midst of India Shining, and India Winning, and India Rising, like a curable, or least preventable, but chronically neglected disease. The reaction against Slumdog Millionaire and other works of its kind that have shown us the face of our disowned poverty is rooted in a misplaced sense of shame. What we are or ought to be ashamed of is not our poverty but of our attempts to wish it away, to sweep it under the carpet, to decry all depictions of it as commercial exploitation and social and cultural voyeurism.

    This is why people like Bachchan are angry about Slumdog Millionaire. Not because it shows the world how pitifully poor we are (actually, far from being pathetic stereotypes, the ‘slumdogs’ in the film are feisty, irrepressible individuals fighting against all odds the system that seeks to victimise them) but because, inadvertently, it has revealed to us through our reactions to the film how culpable we are in the continuance of poverty.

    The real Slumdog divide is not between the haves and the have-nots; it’s between the hopers and the hope-nots: those who hope to cure the disease of poverty by first of all recognising its reality, and those who, dismissing it as a hopeless case, would bury it alive by pretending it didn’t exist.

    Comment by pacifist — March 6, 2009 @ 2:28 am | Reply

  110. Hello, everybody. Hare Krishna.

    Now that the din and dust of this film has settled down, one has to contemplate on why slums are there in many parts of the world. South America , Africa and many places slums are there. The main reason for this is decline and denigration of agriculture by the state.

    A glance on the amount of wasteland generated due to improper use of agricultural land is truly mind boggling. Let us take the example of India. India has created wasteland of agricultural land by bad planning of soil and salinity. Now added to this , the policy makers of India want to add something called the export zones in the existing agricultural land.

    I was in W Bengal , coming from Mayapur, Bengal still looks golden in its farms. One point which many missed that W Bengal could have fed almost the entire India with its agricultural produce. But no, all want growth , they want factories over pure agricultural land. This is sheer madness. The whole world has seen dwindling of agricultural land due to many factors ( I would not like to touch how industrial revolution in early 20th century uprooted some agrarian societies in Europe and caused a whole lot of problems. This requires a separate study). India has wastelands. They should try to locate the money generating zones in these wastelands. I read a displayboard near Bombay, proudly claiming that this zone is coming here. On inquiry someone told me that , they have still not settled the compensation for farmers and the issue is pending. Well , the displayboard was already there. They will be displacing millions with nominal compensation and emotional trauma of loosing land.

    I have seen farmhands in many countries going through trauma and distress and entering the world of crime and hate, when corporations build their concrete jungles over their acquired lands.

    Their final destination is slums.

    Our feeding programs all over the world, which is very practical experience has taught us that the way fertile land is being mauled, soon we will have concrete jungles surrounded by slums. This can happen anywhere, esp India, China, South America, Africa where agriculture employs a massive population.

    The denigration of humankinds first culture agriculture must stop.

    Comment by Krishnadas — March 11, 2009 @ 9:12 am | Reply

  111. Krishnadas, thank you for your very educated and balanced comments.

    Yes, very thought provoking, this ‘growth’ mania.
    If one makes a study the growth of slums might perhaps be exactly and directly propotional to the industrial growth and to the loss in agriculture.

    Comment by pacifist — March 13, 2009 @ 3:02 am | Reply

  112. Hare Krishna Krishna das ji. Thanks for the wonderful and informative comment. Please do read the link to Ramesh Chandars article in my post..just updated.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — March 15, 2009 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  113. Gajanan ji, The original poet who has written the song ‘ darshan do’ is being vindicated finally. His daughter has filed a case in the High Court against Slumdog makers for giving out wrong information as to the author of the song. It wasnt Surdas but Gopal Singh Nepali

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — March 17, 2009 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  114. Interesting comments by Naseeruddin Shah on Oscars

    Comment by gajanan — March 18, 2009 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  115. Perhaps the bhajan is inspired by a similar sounding bhajan of Surdas, with ‘Akhiyan pyaasi’ repeated quite often.

    I vaguely remember one such bhajan of Surdas.

    Comment by pacifist — March 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  116. Interesting comments by the ‘ Intellectual Khan’

    Slumdog didn’t touch me personally’

    Q Slumdog Millionaire was a huge eye opener, I think, but you know for all the accolades that it got around the world, there were plenty here in India who slammed it. What did you think of it?

    AK :It didn’t touch me personally. Emotionally, it didn’t do anything for me. And I suspect it is because I am not used to watching Indians speak English. So you know, all these slum kids talking in English, and the cop…I find it very strange. It didn’t work for me because of that problem.

    Comment by gajanan — March 25, 2009 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  117. Post 6 by Anjali R

    “Unfortunately our own channels were doing a programme on the slum children. They named the programme” Our Slum Dogs”

    and then repeated by Post 10 by Krishnadas as how bad it is.

    and now a influential Republican says exactly what Indian TV showed, applying it to Indian IT workers.

    “On April 10, while discussing the outsourcing of jobs from America, Limbaugh viciously insulted India and her citizens, inanely referencing the Danny Boyle smash-hit film Slumdog Millionaire to make his point.

    “There’s a reason [these jobs] aren’t coming back. They’re outsourced for a reason, an economic reason, and they’re not coming back,” Limbaugh said, while speaking to a caller named Terry from Ohio. “If you’re sitting out waiting for a job that’s now being done by a slumdog in India, and you’re waiting for that job to be cancelled, for the slumdog to be thrown out of work, and you to get the job, it ain’t going to happen. It’s not the way economics works”

    See this web site.

    This is how things will be in future. If they had called the movie. “The Great Slum Hope”, there would have been none of this diatribe.

    Cry, thy beloved country.
    When words are hurled by a sentry.
    You rejoiced when Oscars were awarded by the gentry.
    Cry loudly,for they have awarded your countrymen to name call your country.

    This is Sahir’s Banawat Ki Duniya.
    That Hall of Fame, that Jai Ho is all Yeh Takto ki Duniya.
    Yeh Awards mil bhi jaye tho kya hai.

    Comment by gajanan — April 14, 2009 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

    • Wonderful Gajananji. Terrific response. Perhaps now all those Indians who live abroad will feel the full glare of repurcussions of the film and its long term impact. I was quite appalled at the general lack of maturity and sensitivity in gauging what the objection to SDM least mine. It is NOT that we wish to sweep our inadequacies under the carpet, or want to turn a Nelsons eye. Neither is it that we a re ashamed of it and wish to white wash it. Nor is it that Indian Directors lack the guts to depict India this way. This is all utter nonsense. IT is apparent from the fact that Boyle has selected a short film made by an Indian to be included in his dvd which I believe is as gruesome. I dont know about you but its as if Boyle is having the last laugh.. smirking :” Why just me even your guys speak of India this waY’ and he gladly includes just this kind of film.

      My motherland is laden with problems, not the least helped by those who sit in far away lands and curse it periodically. I object to a film maker depicting the unfortunate aspect of my mother to get acclaimed. It is a dishonest person who will look me in the eye and say that the intention behind SDM was not to gain world attention!! I can curse my circumstances, the potholes, the murkiness, the mess, corruption because I DEAL with it everyday!!! BUt those who from the sidelines disguise their motives and place their cameras in the gutter filled streets as a backdrop and then patronise us dont have my acceptance.

      When you love your country it is not with motive, expectations or a barter. Love should be unconditional. I love my mother and my motherland. My mother because I am what I am today is her gift to me. And my motherland because I truly feel blessed having been born in a land that has been tread upon by Buddha, Krishna, Ramakrishna, Tulsidas, Sai baba, Paramhansa..and hundreds of saints . We are so blessed that we are a seed of that great Tradition. No amount of ineptitude by any politician is going to rob me of my divinity and my ‘viraasat’. Those who condition their love for their country on the basis of returns, dont love. They merely pretend to do so and therefore in a jiffy get disillusioned and all that crap.

      Love is about giving ..not handing out with one hand while the eye is focused on receiving from the other. Its ingratitude of the lowest form to sit back and criticise your motherland or impudently retort and list her defects in response to a question on love. There are some relationships in life which are beyond a give and take. Ones love for ones country is one of them. But I guess one can go hoarse trying to expose the bleeding heart to a bunch of cynical Indians carrying the flag of Freedom which they so dont deserve or understand its implication that Silence then is the wisest recourse..which is why I had been silent all along.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 14, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  118. Another Slumdog in the making!!

    Why am I not surprised? In an age when success is a rarity, few and far between, if a subject can guarantee money, where is the problem honey?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 15, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  119. Hi Kaveetaa,

    I agree to each and every word of your post and your comments and your answers to some outrageous objections too!

    Keep up the excellent job of writing sensible posts and keep up the fight to maintain India’s Honour!

    May God Bless you!

    Comment by Janaki — July 6, 2009 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  120. Hi Kaveeta and others who appear in above comments on SDM film and Post Oscar scenario

    When I had commented as appeared at no 3 above, that time I had not written my review of the film. After a few days I had .It’s a lengthy “Pycho-analytical Citical Reiew” .When SDM won OSCARS, I had also written my POST OSCAR COMMENTARY. Both were posted on my website
    Those of you who have not yet read that; REQUEST U TO PL. DO NOW . I would love to get more comments of my Indian friends .

    Mohan Siroya

    Comment by Mohan Siroya — July 7, 2009 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  121. My dream some days back.

    It is 1938. In remote village in Bhelpur, the village mukhiya is angry and he gives a speech that we have to find out who translated the Mythili libaaz of inheritance in a twisted manner to Lord Boyle and Lord Simon in English. Yes , after three days, they find a new Indian Civil Service (ICS) recruit who was posted in Kenya earlier had translated all this in a twisted manner. The Mukhiya was furious to learn that Vikram Roop, the ICS had done this twisted translation. The villagers with the Mukhiya plan their action. They go to the learned Daulatram to show this and what action could be taken. The twisted translation had made them loose most of their land and they had become paupers. Slowly they plan. Daulatram comes with a smelly obnoxious idea. Why not make Lord Boyle, Lord Simon and Vikram Roop wear only a langot and dip them in a pit full of excreta. ” Excreta !!! Excreta !!! shouts the Mukhiya to Daulatram. Daulatram responds ” Sirf unko excreta yanike goo me doobana hai aur phir upar keechna hai. Unko maloom hona chaiye ke hamara goo karne ki jagah aur udhar ka samne wale sara zameen ko lekar, hamahe kitna parashani pahuchayi”.

    The villagers of Bhelpur unite and when all unite there is success. The day of the dip arrives. The entire village watches the three wearing a langot and being dipped in pit of excreta. The Mukhiya is jubilant at this. He keeps on shouting ” Excreta!!! Excreta!!! and the villagers shout in chorus in their own way. The chorus resounds ” Excreta!! Excreta!!! as the three are lifted up and dipped back into the pit of excreta for number of times.

    I also shout ” Excreta !!! Excreta!! and with joy fall off my bed in my sleep. The cleaner who was cleaning my hotel room, (it was early morning) was a bit confused. First he smiled and then he asked me ” Are you doing some excreta analysis” I said “No” getting up from the floor. The cleaner said ” It is all shit now , no more excreta” He inquired whether I was hurt. Fortunately the joy of the dream , made me only scream , as I feel on my fleshy portion.

    I did not talk to him much, but inquired with him as to whether he was doing a part time cleaning job. Yes he said , I studied upto intermediate in college and then hard times came , I had to do a correspondence course with this cleaning job to support.

    I knew in 1938 , shit had not arrived. I brushed my teeth and had coffee and then looked at the mirror and said to myself ” You have a script now , just expand it”

    It is some days now after the dream, but just see how in the subconscious , I am still unhappy. I leave it to some good script writer to expand on this and write a full fledged story. Go ahead readers, the sky is the limit if you are not bothered about the credit.

    Comment by gajanan — July 10, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: