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Boyle attacked over Slumdog Millionaire

SlumdogMillionaire.jpgNow I do think there are some issues with Slumdog Millionaire (Filmstalker review) and it's not the “feel good film of the decade”, who knows if it could possibly be the “best film of the year”, and it isn't a “triumph of British-India film-making” but it is a good film.

Neither is it deserving of the negativity that is hitting it at the moment, or rather the negativity that is hitting Danny Boyle right now over the film, for there's a feeling that the film isn't such a positive portrayal of India.

The film has been coming under some fire for not being Indian enough, and now it's also being hit for portraying India in a poor light, or rather not showing the full picture of India.

First up, I whole heartedly agree that this isn't an Indian film, it's a British film in India with a mixture of a British born Indian and natural born Indian cast, with a co-director credit for an Indian director and a tacked on Bollywood dance number during the end credits, if that really is being touted as an Indian film then I'd be very upset if I were in Bollywood.

As for the comments about the poor image that the film is giving India, the Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan said on his blog through The Guardian:

“...if SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations. Its just that the SM idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not.”

Well I feel I have to say that reading that it seems far from the condemnation that we're led to believe, in fact if you read it in context it almost sounds as though he's addressing someone else's belief of what the film portrays.

Okay, take that “if” away and read the rest and it does sound a little more critical, but his following statement about global recognition suddenly undermines that comment and makes it sound like he's defending it once again.

You see it doesn't portray all of Indian life, just as every other film doesn't portray every aspect of whatever they are portraying, it's because a film is limited in time and storyline, and one that is trying to be dramatic and entertaining is even more restricted in showing a full spectrum of what it's presenting. It has to narrow it's view, and therefore of your view, and show just what it can to deliver the entertainment.

Yes in a factual, historical film more care has to be taken to present as much as possible, but even then they can't show you ever aspect of the events, location and lives in the film. There's a small window, and it has to be carefully presented.

So the fact that not all Indian life is portrayed is irrelevant, I've not seen a film that does present every aspect of life in the country that it's depicted. I think that discussion is irrelevant, and reading Amitabh Bachchan's comments I don't really believe he's trying to complain that Slumdog Millionaire doesn't show all if Indian life.

The Guardian thinks that perhaps there's something else behind it all, that Bachchan was the host of the Indian Who Wants to be a Millionaire, however it's Anil Kapoor who plays the host of the show, and they suggest that perhaps he's a little sore about that.

Maybe he is, but I still don't buy these comments as an attack on the film.

Meanwhile Danny Boyle has been commenting on the film himself, explaining a little of the reasoning behind it, through The Guardian again:

“The thing that I wanted people to take away from the film was the joy of people despite their circumstances, that lust for life...What we tried to do in the film was include as much of the city as possible.”

I don't really see a big battle here. Yes people are sore that there's a dark side of India being shown, but for what it's worth as a person who has never been to India, I understand that there's more to India than some of the bad bits in the film, after all I've been to cities, I live in one, I realise these things because I have seen films and all of them present their location in a light that suits their film.



I found it way too cheesy.


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