A True Winner

Here is a true winner people… Slumdog Millionaire, a small film made at a production budget of 15 million dollars has grossed around 300 million dollars worldwide and has also bagged all the prestigious awards. However, Slumdog didn’t do well in India because I think the Indian audience’s taste is different and according to me most of the Indian audience felt bad because outsiders came and showed the real picture of Mumbai. I have been living in Mumbai for last one year and for me Slumdog Millionaire is a most authentic depiction of contemporary Mumbai. Its very difficult to find the contrast Mumbai offers anywhere else in the world. Few of the rich people live in this city, superstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan live in Mumbai and on the other hand it is having maximum poverty, filth and dirt. Even though Mumbai is a big and sprawling city, it offers you many small places (localities) that encompass the ugliness and beauty, tragedy and hope, and great contrasts in lifestyles and attitudes. Now, lets get back to Slumdog Millionaire. I am still aghast by a fact that how can an outsider come and make such a film about our times, our people. Just look at the scene in the first half where Jamal jumps into the shit to get glimpse/autograph of the superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Most of the people haven’t liked that scene as they argue that the toilets shown in that particular scene don’t exist in Mumbai. But that’s not the point. Cinema is an art form and there is a thing called metaphor. Jamal jumping into the shit is a metaphor, man. Its about going to the extremes for accomplishing a smallest thing. Its not about showing a dirty toilet purposefully for showing Mumbai in bad light. This is Danny Boyle’s style. Just watch his previous work “Trainspotting“. In “Trainspotting” Boyle has shown a drug addict going inside a dirtiest possible toilet for getting some drug pills. For me this is highly intelligent making. Anyway, this is my personal opinion and still, I will highly recommend everybody to watch “Slumdog Millionaire”. I also found this small piece of text from an article on Rediff – Slumdog Millionaire DVD to reveal new secrets” Just check this out….

In a scene from Slumdog Millionaire Beaufoy said in an interview with Rediff India Abroad that while he had expected the toilet scene to raise a lot of concerns, it was not meant to be offensive to anyone. This is how he wrote the scene showing Jamal in a latrine, locked by his brother Salim who is running to see Amitabh Bachchan who has landed close to the slums for a film shoot.

“Jamal: No! wait! Salim, sala! Salim!

Rattles the locked door. Pulls a torn flyer from his pocket advertising an Amitabh movie.

Jamal: Wait! Amitabh…

He looks down the toilet hole at the sewage beneath him, the landing helicopter, the disappearing crowd. A final rattle of the door. There is one way out. He jumps down the hole, sprawling headlong into a year’s worth of human waste, managing to keep the flyer out the mire. He runs for the helicopter.”

The toilet scene has shocked or appalled many and amused quite a few. While some found it demeaning to the young actor involved, others see it as an imaginative comment on how crazy Indians are about movie idols. At the Toronto International Film Festival where the scene stirred quite a few people last September, several Indians were engaged in a heated argument over it soon after the screening. Some also said that the scene was utterly unbelievable.

“Can anyone, even a kid in a slum fall into s..t to get Amitabh’s autograph,’ said one. “It is gross, it is humiliating, it can never happen in real life.”

One man chimed in: “But surely you don’t know how many people committed suicide in Tamil Nadu when the actor MG Ramachandran died. In India people even marry the portraits of movie actors!”

The DVD offers insights on how the toilet sequence was shot.

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