Saturday, February 28, 2009

I’m dying for a good movie about junkies in Edinburgh….

Ugh! I've said it before here but I'll say it again, "Danny Boyle, you should stick to making movies about junkies in Edinburgh! Look mofo, your exploiting India's poverty for titillation to accompany popcorn chomping is not cool. Your connection with India is zilch! In fact the first time you visited the country was to shoot the film. And, did you even watch City of Joy and Cidade de Deus before decided to go slumming?"

I quote from the Financial Times February 23 2009: The film (Slumdog Millionaire) has been sharply criticised as "poverty porn". Well-respected local filmmakers have described the film as titillating western audiences with its portrayal of slum life. Priyadarshan Nair, an India film-maker, complained strongly that the film makes a mockery of India. "It's nothing but a mediocre Bollywood film, which has used references from several Hindi films very smartly," he wrote in the newspaper India Today at the weekend. "India is not Somalia. We are one of the foremost nuclear powers in the world, our satellites are roaming the universe. Our police commissioners' offices don't look like shacks and there are no blind children begging in the streets of Mumbai." Even some who like the movie are unhappy with its title. "Dog is really offensive for us Indians," says Krishna Pujari, a former street child who now organises ethical tours of the slum.

Yeah, no shit Boyle! Your calling an Indian street-child "Slumdog" is like a white person using the N-word. This is not the f**king Raj and we're not your f**king coolies.

indieWIRE flays it as a "A noisy, sub-Dickens update on the romantic tramp's tale. Poverty can be so much fun with M.I.A.'s ubiquitous "Paper Planes" pop-pop and ching-ching throughout. Jamal's success on the TV show makes him a hero to slumdogs everywhere, but he doesn't care about being rich. He just wants to be with Latika. Quite instructive to the billions of poor people in the world foolishly aspiring to subsistence, let alone wealth! Love is all Jamal needs. Love and a lobotomy." Another disection of the structural flaws of this sub-par film is on this blog.

On other fronts, we had a kick-ass Winter Masquerade Ball last weekend and the organization of London Business School Crossroads Art Exhibition is going smoothly. I'm debating whether I should accept a second internship with Accenture's ADP program. Its 7 weeks and ultra-cool! ADP provides strategic advice to nonprofit organizations, foundations and donor organizations operating in the development sector, helping these organizations achieve social and economic development goals. Sample engagements include building supply chain capabilities for a humanitarian aid organization in South Africa and developing an IT industry growth strategy for the government of Guyana. But after 10 weeks of an I-banking internship will this be overkill and am I better off working pro-bono for a local non-profit? Plus I'm planning on moving to Portobello Road before fall trimester starts in October. But I'm so tempted to do this …. plus its for a good cause! Decisions, decisions!!!


Raymond said...

Good post. Slumdog lets the West and particularly the UK feel good about itself at someone elses expense. What I found particularly offensive was the notion that if you are a Muslim in India, you are going to be singled out for a 'special type' of poverty not to mention, regularly lynched. If you live here long enough you realize that sections of the British media have made a business pandering to the home grown left-wing politically correct crowd. It is a well known fact that Muslims in India enjoy some of the greatest personal freedoms denied to their co-religionists elsewhere in the world - and while co-existence is not always harmonious, it is far from the civil war portrayed in SM. You simply need to ask an Indian Muslim whether he wishes to relocated to neighboring Pakistan...the answer is invariably a sound "No".

Ravi said...

Watching the movie was anticlimatic considering all the hype it had generated. As an Indian, I found it quite average with all the suspect ingredients of a typical "masala movie".

There have been earlier movies that glorified the religious divide (Maniratnam's "Bombay" & "Dev" based on the Godhra riots come to mind). What clinched the case for SM was the amalgamation of these staple bollywood themes laced with an abject projection of poverty which served a perfect package to the West.

I quite liked Amitabh Bachchan's views on the movie that he published on his blog. The Beeb's interpretation of those exact views was rather comical. It just went on to reinforce how desperate the UK media was for SM to succeed.