Tuesday, February 3, 2009

MUMDOGS and BILLIONS OF THEM not doing more than their BIT.

The opening shot captures children playing cricket at the airport even as a flight takes off. The scene to me sets the tone of the movie as it unfolds revealing the many gut wrenching moments captured on celluloid so very effectively yet representing a work of brilliant cinematic expression.
For someone like me who used to stay at the Bandra East area in Mumbai a few years back every time I look out of the jetairways window as the flight glides over the slums of Santa Cruz and Kalina into the concrete airstrip I used to wonder how the lakhs of people dwelling in the slums would cope with the deafening sound of the 500 plus Aircrafts landing and taking off from India’s busiest airport?

The film maker, cast and the music irrepressibly capture the naked truth of the darker side of the great city of Mumbai. Film making is a medium to entertain, communicate or kindle thought or perspective or influence people depending on the genre the film caters to.

The movie reflecting on the promise of rags to riches and the treacherous turn of life which the human beings living in the slums is an eye opener and brings a lump in ones throat and cheer in ecstasy to even someone like me who has seen these very scenes so very often live.

Every time I stroll from the posh Bandra east through Bandra station to walk into the ultra posh Bandra west you just cannot avoid the “In your face visuals “ which are harsh reality and is what which got captured in the movie so well. With Telling Effect.

In the busy life of a Mumbaikar (or other Indians )these images do not even generate a sigh in agony. Simply put in other words one gets so immune to these Bare, high decibel placards of poverty crying out for help along with the glitzy giant hoardings featuring bollywood stars or TV soap ads.

Slumdog Millionaire in its 2 hour long cinematic influence brings out the kind of sensitivity and empathy that it evokes in you and bares the a thick skin urban animal that we have so shamelessly got to being. Even as the movie kindles a spirit of triumph against all odds and bares the raw open wounds, there are a section of the elite society who live in a state of denial.

Even in denial these ultra urbane intellects that worry of India being wrongly represented or the “West getting entertained by showing the reality of the slums of Mumbai” are so arrogant to speak in a derogatory manner condemning a humble work of cinematic brilliance.

If they so cared about the very image which stares at your face in every major metro bustling with economic progress , they could do a lot to save the lives of at least half a dozen “Salims , Jamals & Latikas” . If they cared so much they could have done quite a lot in fueling the indomitable spirit of the slum dweller. For the several heartless egalitarians who have an issue of the title SlumDOG , will be surprised to know that their Labradors and Pugs gets a spa visit a week and two sessions of proteins supplement a day and an air-conditioned car ride to the nearby bandstand of Juhu beach every day .

If only we cared as a society , if only our banks lent a helping hand as micro finance , if only we had an ounce in compassion , we only we saw and reacted to their eerie cries of despair , if only we saw them as innocent children , if only we knew what hunger was , if only or hearts bleed even as street kids eyes are burned , if only the sex manic not crave for that barely matured virgin , if only they dint use them to kill , IF ONLY WE TREATED THEM LIKE HUMANS , I would never have an issue of on their protects of naming the film “Slum Dog “ or India being showcased as regressive.

I am doing my bit every time I walk up the steps of Bandra station by doing away with the coins giggling in my pocket. Worked with events conducted by my ex employer reaching out to street children. Donating to the Lions club buying books for the slum children or even parting with warm clothes when I am actually doing away with my out of fashion clothes and freeing up my wardrobe. So are several thousands of us whose eyes get moist at the sight of a underprivileged soul.

But is doing our bit and is bit just enough. We should care more and more than ever before now and today as the problems are still manageable if we have open eyes and caring hearts.

A few of us .No.This isn’t enough and won’t be. There isn’t an iota of pride in having the world largest slum in one of the fastest growing economy. The slums exist and are growing by the day. Hence films will be made if they made by films makers like Danny reflecting reality. If we cared for they being called dogs and worry about west entertaining themselves on our state of poverty then do more than your bit to support in elevating the standard of their life. Lend them hope, and stop complaining about the west or the films they make reflecting reality. Stop living in denial. I am doing it from today and I hope my friends will too join in for a better India. DO A BIT MORE THAN YOU DO TODAY. If you haven’t yet started START NOW.


  1. Truth well-said Aravindan. I agree with you absolutely. I saw the film with my family and all of us were touched. My wife and I felt the same way you feel about the movie and the characters. We feel the same way about the critics who seem to care so much about Indian pride, but are actually closing their eyes on the reality.

  2. I have yet to watch this one, but going by all the hype surrounding it, me sure that this is going to a hell of a movie like its predecessors like Maniratnam's Mumbai, Salaam Mumbai et all. I am sure if every one woke up to the reality that there are so many un-fortunate ones in your neighbourhood who need yr help and support. When I visit Hanuman ji's temple near my locality every saturday, I make it a point to flash a 10 Rs note to all the guys sitting around after I finish my prayers(may be 8-10 of them) and believe me the kind of facial gestures and emotions that these guys reflect upon receiving the charity is awe some and gives you a sense of belonging to the man kind. Truly a tear or two flow down your eye when you see an unfortunate old lady blessing you as if to say that she has made probably the most in the day then she has the entire week. But as you said it just aint enuf. Like they preach always abt Bhagavad Gita. You come here with nothing and so do you go. Let us all learn and imbibe that worldly pleasures are not here to stay and lets get around by helping others which is the only way to attain salvation

  3. i agree with u Ara......Reality always bites....the riches dont share....the illiterates dont care....wonder what the literates are doing....they jus take time in denigrating....