Jan 14, 2009


The immense popularity and media hype following the success of the two recent works related to India, namely Arvind Adiga's ‘The White Tiger’ and Danny Boyle's ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ have brought to sharp focus the gory details of the foul smelling underbelly of India's modern façade. Post the rapid development in the last two decades, lest we should revel in the apparent prosperity that has pervaded both rural and urban India, these two works bring us face to face with reality. Not that the underbelly was any different earlier, but the façade surely has been transformed. I wonder if that is the reason(the true to life depiction of India) for their international acclaim and recognition.

As Arvind Adiga puts it things are different in ‘The Darkness’, “There, every morning, tens of thousands of young men sit in the tea shops, reading the newspaper ... They have no job to do today. They know they won't get any job today. They've given up the fight." Through his richly detailed story telling, Adiga captivates the reader by depicting Balram Halwai’s struggling family life in “The Darkness”, in the teashops of Mafia controlled Dhanbad, as the driver for a wealthy family in Gurgaon till he finally kills his master and sets himself free. Free from oppression, free from bonds to his struggling family and his obligations to them and free to set up shop on his own at Bangalore. Through this journey of the rarest of the rare(that is what a white tiger is) ‘Balram Halwai’, Adiga depicts the modern Indian dilemma as unique. Family loyalties and a caste and class ridden culture of servitude, clash with the unfulfilled promises of freedom and democracy. Throughout the book one never loses sight of the intense struggle of the ordinary men and women fighting impossible odds to survive.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ on the other hand exposes the numerous ills that plague Aamchi Mumbai and India. From the torture chamber of Mumbai Police, the petty criminals who maim and blind children deliberately, forcing them on the streets as beggars, to gangsters of the underworld whose tentacles spread from child prostitution, drug trafficking and contract killing. The music in the film is refreshing, if at times the gore is overpoweringly repulsive.  

If one has landed at Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Airport, one has probably seen from the air, the very slums which are the scene of action for a large part of the movie. But I can bet many of us have not actually been inside the slums. It’s sad that it takes a foreigner to bring us face to face with the stark realities of our apparently glittering metropolis.

I hope this break through movie will bring light to the living atrocities and in some way help the people that live in our slums.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ hits theatres in India on 23 Jan 2009.


  1. @gooooooooooood girl
    Thank you very very much.

  2. Wonderfully said. Its nice to see the positive view point that you have picked from the movie. I was surprised at some comments made elsewhere criticizing people who made a movie depicting India's poverty. These are people who do not want to accept the reality and like to dip their heads in the foxhole. I am sure as you said, they fly over the slums more times than we use our cars perhaps. It is when they see the pain from above that the true power of India will be unleashed. That is our culture and I am sure that its only a matter of time and market forces and social forces will drive us that direction. Nice write up and good comparison on a burning topic.

  3. @Mohan
    Thanks a lot for stopping by. Good to hear that you liked it. Did you see the movie?

  4. well u have a striking way of writing!!!its a nice post on SLUMDOG....thanks for ur comment on my blog!!!i wil luk frwd to read ur posts!!!


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