Maybe you've already seen it? It got 10 Oscar nominations — three for music director A.R. Rahman --and won eight, including best picture. I have seen some other films from Bollywood, but this one clinches it that they are capable of making movies every bit as juicy, and substantially more exotic than the standard Hollywood fare. But a lot of people are upset about it. Apparently people in India have been protesting over the name of the film, among other things. London Times journalist Alice Miles called it "poverty porn". The movie was filmed in Mumbai and used a lot of locals as cast and crew. Poverty porn. Is it a turn on to witness violence and degradation of humans? Maybe it is, because that is what Hollywood offers, and television too, but rarely with such ethnic color and raw energy. I saw this movie as a wild adventure--adventure travel if you will, into an overy dramatized but based in real life story of a young man. It is the basis in real life that fascinates. The ball game on the edge of an airport runway. Women washing clothes in a muddy river while children splash. The backhanded cruelty of the streets. These scenes are a strong foundation for an education for all us spoiled Westerners. Yes, the frenetic music and relentless violence flavor nearly every scene. The movie makers picked the most horrible of events to fill their movie with action. Hopefully no one must live such a life. In spite of the violence, these scenes make the movie well worth seeing. The sets are rich and amazing. The child-actors are tremendous. Five stars. I feel like I went somewhere and it only cost me $5. I am sorry that people in India are upset, and do not want their country to be seen this way. The only thing I can offer is that we know it is a movie, and we know you are not slumdogs. Just watch any of a thousand movies about the ugliness at the bottom of Western culture and realize that desperation is interesting, to a point. What we all really love to see is the good guy winning, for a change. Seems not to happen much in real life anymore, but at least the movies can bring it into our collective imagination.
SLUMS OF MUMBAI