Friday, March 27, 2009

So what?

In one of the recent editions of Tehelka, I read Tarun Tejpal’s editorial. He writes about how ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has not depicted reality at all – that many of the poor in this country can never hope to get out of poverty by getting fantastic opportunities such as Jamaal. How the hope the movie peddles is fragile, how Danny Boyle has made an entertaining film and not a great film, etc. etc. (I am only paraphrasing here. The editorial is quite comprehensive and well-written, though.)

I don’t really understand what nerves Slumdog Millionaire has jangled. Earlier, I was annoyed. Now, I don’t understand. How can hope be realistic? Why must it be? Hope, by its very nature, must transcend the reality that you see. Otherwise, why or how is it hope? I am 100 kgs now. I hope to be 45 kgs in the next 3 months. I think I can get there. I am hopeful. Is it realistic? No, it’s not. But reality is what I’m sunk in. This is the reality I want to get out of. That’s why I hope.

And what contract of understanding did Danny Boyle sign with the people of India or Bombay that he must show the city or country in its ‘true and flattering light’? That he must cover wealth and opulence and not scarcity and lack? I mean, surely a person must be allowed to focus on whatever fascinates him or her. Or do we now start telling people that you must like this and not like that. And if you must talk about us, only speak of this and not about that.

Also, why isn’t anyone interviewing the author? Boyle based his movie on a book. The book, in fact, based its story on whatever one-dimensional reality the film is accused of projecting. Could it be that no-one has read the book? So if anyone’s mind needs to be picked, shouldn’t it be the writer’s?

Why exactly are we getting so touchy?

Perhaps the Western World is taken in with our poverty. But aren’t we taken in with their wealth? Or the plaintive homesickness of NRIs? Don’t we relish stories of ‘look! how the mighty have fallen’?

We may not have much understanding of individual choice, but I’m sure we have mastered the concept of collective prejudice.


Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

WoW!! Best article I have read on this topic so far!

Satandit said...

~Collective prejudice huh ?? You've hit the nail bang-on !! I didnt like "Slumdog" too much, but not 'cuz it showed "India" in a bad light {how can it be bad when its true ?? }I dint like it 'cuz the story line was the usual 'underdog-wins-in-the-end-with-a-love-story" thrown in it. But the cinematography...amazing !
Good post girlie...hows the tooth ??

omnithere said...

i agree ..

nikhil said...

collective prejudice?? Are you trying to say there isn't poverty in India? That the westerners are prejudiced?

Mukta said...

hi nikhil,

No...I am saying that Westerners are not the only ones who have prejudices. We have them too. And that's why we can't hold a gun to anyone else's head and force them to see things our way, just as we won't be coerced into looking at a society in a particular way.

Lonely sky over the sea..... said...

very well written Mukta.... I agree with you that its just collective prejudice & I think they have spoken so much about it only coz it has managed to win Oscars, & the fact that the guy who made it is a westerner.. didnt hear any harsh criticism to this extent when Devdas/that Amir Khan movie on independance over cricket(sorry forgot the name) was pushed for Oscars.... Maybe the critics have come to believe that Tashan represents true India... he he he