An idiots’ guide to India


I saw Slumdog Millionaire this week and it may have been all the hype associated with the film but I was disappointed by it. Director Danny Boyle has made an energetic and visually stunning film but Slumdog Millionaire left me a little uncomfortable.

Today I read a piece by Hirsh Sawhney entitled ‘An idiots’ guide to India’ which discusses whether Slumdog Millionaire’s implication that western values offer a way out of the slums is a dangerous myth.

Here is an extract:

When India’s call centres and booming economy began to grab headlines, writers and filmmakers attempted to woo western audiences with tales from the subcontinent. Some of these works were nuanced and sophisticated, like Richie Mehta’s recent film Amal or Suketu Mehta‘s bestselling book Maximum City. But many of them were designed to cash in on the India craze and provide digestible titbits about the country’s culture and history to western audiences – India for idiots, if you will.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the runaway favourite for the best picture Oscar tomorrow night, is precisely one of these simplistic texts. It contains a smattering of all the major Indian hot buttons: call centres, religious riots, urban development, sex workers, the Taj Mahal -and, of course, slums.

Read the rest here.


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