Harish Jharia

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10 July 2009

Hollywood Movie: Why ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and not ‘Slumboy Millionaire’

© Harish Jharia
Why did the makers of this film name it as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and not ‘Slumboy Millionaire’ or using something more decent title from the endless English vocabulary that could have been a bit more civilised? Slum dog reminds me of a street dog sniffing at trashcans and not a human being struggling tooth & nail for his honour and survival.
Danny Boyle’s film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is being publicised as a British film about India. Whereas it is not about India and on the other hand it is a dramatisation of the stark poverty concentrated in Dharavi, a slum where 600,000 people are crammed into 520 acres. Western press has branded Dharavi as an absolute filth that is Asia's largest slum.
‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is not the first Indian film that is being promoted by western media and nominated for Academy Awards / Oscars / BAFTA / Golden Globe and other International Film Awards. Many other Indian films from the parallel cinema and low budget films were nominated or bestowed upon awards in the past also. However, there is a common factor among all such films and that is the stark poverty, filth, drought, famine, starvation, illiteracy, beggars, prostitution and any thing negative projecting India as a part of the 3rd world far behind the rest of the western world.
Films like ‘Tarey Zamin Par’, Gajini, Krish and likes that portray the real India, its philosophy, its expertise and excellence in the field of cinema are forcibly dragged to the back burner by the western showbiz and we Indians indulge ourselves in aggressive self-praise, joining the loud chorus sung by the west.
We are selling out our poverty and the image of a poor country to the western world and taking personal advantage out of it. It is not so very different from the Congress- General Secretary escorting the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on a visit to a cowshed in Uttar Pradesh, rather than showing him the milk industries in Anand, Gujarat, Metro Rail in Delhi, IIM, Ahmedabad, IIT, Kharagpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore etc.
It proves that we are against poverty alleviation and deliberately want to preserve Dharavi (s) for marketing purpose and seeking western help in cash & kind and satisfying their ego that they are developed nations.
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