I personally think India is too big to be depicted in one movie or one novel or maybe even a lifetime. The events shown in the movie have been a part of India, the squalor shown is the truth of some areas, the apathy, poverty it all exists somewhere choking the life out of her. But there are elements which have managed to keep India alive amidst all this and people who have the eye for it saw that in the movie. The movie is about Hope. What do I say about hope. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.
It’s about the perseverance of spirit through really tough times. It’s about courage. It’s about Love. It’s about romance. It’s amazing! It also has violence, but it’s not gratuitous violence; while shocking, it’s necessary to the story. Slumdog Millionaire tackles topics like: torture, murder, suicide, poverty, child torture, corruption, rape, prostitution, child prostitution,
Slumdog Millionaire was a bullet which shattered the kevlar that protected me from the knowledge of life in Mumbai’s slums. We never wanted to know what lies beyond whatever little we saw of Dharavi, from the window of a local train. Never had we thought Dharavi could actually inspire a thought, leave alone poetry, songs, music, a story, romance or anything with a remote semblance of a good life. This is where we should draw a line with our cynicism and appreciate Boyle, Rehman and everyone involved with the fairy tale that is – Slumdog Millionaire. While Bollywood directors spend millions of dollars to fund their “dream” projects in “dream” locales, here’s a Brit who found his latest “love story” in the most disowned area of Mumbai, in the labyrinthine lanes of Dharavi.
The only ‘objectionable’ part I can recall is the question of the Bow in Ram’s hand? How difficult is it to come across this symbol in India? On countless temple walls (even if one didn’t go inside); in movies; on BJP / VHP posters hugely popular TV serial – Ramayana and the hoardings and posters accompanying it; Ram Lila celebrations – the street plays and the burning of the effigies of Ravana during Dusshera time again hugely popular in North India and around Agra where he is shown as having stayed during the movie. They showed the hideous caricature of the young boy dressed up as Ram and looking at the hero hatefully during the riots.
It’s a British film about India, and I think Boyle made a pretty gutsy move making the film.
Finally, Love is a crazy thing, it drives people to be the best of their ability, it makes people shine. Because of love, there’s patience and determination and hope. Imagine if there was no love, and all people cared about was money?