Question:why does "Slumdog Millionaire", after winning 8 oscars this year, and deservedly so, still needs to prove itself to India/Indians?
Answer:It doesn't. Its a global phenomenon now and neither can BIG nor small As, Bs or Cs can do anything about it. The Academy awards are handed out for brilliance in the art and science of English film making and 8 Academy awards are more then enough to prove its mettle.
The criticism that i have heard most, in and around, for the movie is that it renders poverty in a voyeuristic way, it has won the awards because it was directed by a foreign director and its unrealistic portrayal. The "unrealistic potrayal" bit makes me laugh and begs me to ask "how real are you or any of your movies sir(s)/madam(s)?" This, in fact is as real as reality gets and makes me question if showing the abject poverty of every 3 out of 10 people who live beneath the poverty line in India can be considered as voyeurism or just the naked truth of the Indian underbelly?
Or if a foreign director, trying to make a movie and thereby helping the cause of alleviating the poverty from the lives of the people he touches, sadistic in any form or kind, especially when the upwardly mobile Indians are too busy rejoicing the Forbes list where 4 out the of 10 richest are of Indian origin?
The entire argument can be decided over by a single quote by Abraham Lincoln
"Question:How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
Answer:Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
Danny Boyle and co, as always, had the courage to show the truth without thinking twice, had the courage to make 1/4th of the movie in Hindi without enquiring with his producer, had the courage to make a movie which had no big actors, had the courage to move on even when the initial distributors backed out, had the courage to direct a movie with a heart and had the courage to read books, which unfortunately, i dare say, our directors/etc don't get time to do, as they are too busy sequencing "item" numbers with the tasteless class for the tasteless mass.
Most of the world's greatest movies, including that of India's, have always come from books. Without literature there is no story and without a story there is no movie.
Its about time India and its junta realised that movies are more about the stories and less about the t-shirt tearing, bullet biting, goggle ogling, stammering, monologusing, accenting and eccentric actors with godforsaken godfathers, godmothers, godbrothers, godsisters and godfriends.
I pity people who choose not to associate with projects on human endeavour and hope but would rather dance in any birthday or marriage party for a crore rupees and return tickets.
I also pity people who frown upon Oscars and would rather grin over baseless plethora of filmy Indian film awards.
The other realities are; this movie of 15 million (75 crores) has now grossed in over 200 million (you do the counting-crores) and has bagged in around 100 awards worldwide.
Apart from the Oscars that Indians have got, it has also given Indian talent a platform to perform and showcase talent on. It has given Tanay Chheda a kiss each from Reese Whitherspoon, Penelope Cruz and Angelina Jolie (most Indian actors would kill for the same from anyone of the names mentioned). It has given Freida Pinto the vogue magazine's a spot in amongst the best 10 dressed lady ranking and given her Woody Allen's next movie which also casts movie also casts Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Naomi Watts (most Indian actresses would let them be killed for the same). It has also given the slum kids of the movie a flat each and an financial bond which will mature when they will be 18 and be handed over to them.
So at the end of it all i ask you, should we close our eyes and brush poverty under the carpet or should we face the reality and do something about it? Should we choose a truth that is a social gaffe or a faux sham that is pretentious? is Slumdog Millionaire voyeuristic
or is our over-the-top Bollywood blind?
Let's get real. Now, more than ever, is the time.
after all, we are what we do.
(Disclaimer: All names, photos et al belong to their respective owners. All rhetoric/satire/sarcasm made here has no unwilling references.)
Wednesday, 25 February, 2009
Friday, 13 February, 2009
Pramod Mutalik and ilk vs N. Susan and ilk vs Republic of India vs Pink Chaddis vs Yellow Journalism vs Everything in Between
Far too many in India belong to two tribes: one following the shree Ram sene's Pramod Mutalik and the other following the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women's N.Susan. Period.
Either of two tribes don't represent India or its majority.
What's more concerning?
They think they do.
What even more concerning?
People and the media are making it seem like they do too.
The trouble is that the third tribe, hopefully to which the largest lot belongs to, is too tired of fighting for and against the other two tribes. That and they think its too frivolous an argument to crusade over. The continuous to and fro hustle and tussle of the other two tribes in various formats and ferments have made it even more harder for the third tribe to have its own say as they are moderates and not right/left/centre/whatever winged extremists like the Mutaliks and Susans that seem to have the self-righteous veracity to speak on behalf of entire India on their own. The third tribe being as peaceful as they are, tend to be sidelined by the extremists from both sides of the divide. so who tends to lose most in this fight of Mutalik vs N Susan? The "aam aadmi/aurat" ofcourse. who gets branded as either or by the two sides, failing to realise that all who are not Mutaliks, may not Susans either and vice versa. They can be some where in between.
so about this third tribe?
Where do they go?
for namesake, the girls who wear pink panties (not gift them away to very old men) or just panties or skirts or half pants or three quaters or jeans or full pants or salwars or saris.
And what about guys who want to make India proud, not by beating women but, by protecting them?
where do all of them go and join?
loose and naked vaginas vs woman beaters? are these the only two Indias that we Indians now have to choose between? between saffronites like VHP/RSS/MNS/SRS/Mutalik and disgruntled TEHELKA employees/hungry NEWS CHANNELS/consortiums et al?
Can an Ideal India be ruled by either Mutaliks or Susans? as both the former and the latter are self-obsessed, self-righteous and down right narcissists, who are either too loose or too tight, who dare to forget that there are more dire issues which should be taken into hands by young and old India alike, who dare to forget that between pub-goers and saffronites, there lies an India of the other 99.99 percent. They dare to forget that the common man/woman of India is not interested in religion, is not interested in rhetoric, is not interested in facebook and definitely not interested in pubs, but he/she is interested in things that both Mutalik army and Susan brigade take for granted and are too privileged to have.
for Mutalik, this is where he stands #FOOD>CLOTHES>SHELTER>HEALTH>EDUCATION>MONEY>JOBS>RELIGIOUS SECTS>EXTREMISTS>HINDU>Shri Ram sene>Muthalik
as for Susan, this is where she stands #FOOD>CLOTHES>SHELTER>HEALTH>EDUCATION>COMPUTER>TV
>INTERNET>ORKUT>FACEBOOK>PUBS>Consortium of Pubgoing,Loose
and Forward Women>Susan
(DEMOGRAPHIC COMPARATIVE ESTIMATE)
The pink panty girls, who are going to give their pink panties away as charity, amongst them men, most are doing the same with their chastity too. Is this a very difficult and preposterous extrapolation to make?
as for Mutalik, he has already showed his demeanour and measure in such a vexing way that not even Lord Ram himself can salvage Mutalik's Ravana Sena.
The so called Ram Sainiks, on one hand are forgetting that India is a FREE country and the land of Kamasutra. on the other hand, or the other thigh rather, the "LOOSE" women are losing memory over the fact that not every women in India is "LOOSE" yet and the "LOOSE MEN" are forgetting that some men, still, can't be PHYSICALLY loose and hence don't enjoy cross dressing or have a collection of pink panties to give away, especially to very old lungi bearing men like Mutalik whose lungi seems to be turning a lot of the cross dressers on.
Anyway, I am sure for all the progressive and FORWARD Indians, for whom FORWARD doesn't mean LOOSE (unlike the Susanites), who have IQ over 135, can forget the entire episode by taking a good hard look at the names of MUTALIK and SUSAN and then by taking your very own (or even your neighbour's) MUTT for a walk to his favourite place and let him SUSU* while you make the analogy. I insist.
(N.B: # A>B>C, where number of people concerned with A is greater than B and number of people concerned with B are greater than C, so on and so forth.
*SUSU is Indian for urine.
Disclaimer:All organisations and other names are owned by their respective owners.
IMHO: The protest is fine but the term "loose" is where it lost out and am hoping that it was sarcasm)