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CHENNAI, India — Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” may have walked away with eight of the 10 Oscars it was nominated for, including those for Best Picture and Best Director, but the euphoria it has created in India is clearly misplaced.

Admittedly, India’s A.R. Rahman won two statuettes for the Best Original Score and the Best Original Song, the second as a co-lyricist with India’s Gulzar. Resul Pookutty, also Indian, clinched an award along with two others for Best Sound Mixing. But these aren’t the big Oscars, particularly for a film like “Slumdog Millionaire,” which is hardly a musical.

In fact, the prized song doesn’t play out until the end when the credits roll and the audience begins moving out. Yes, the movie was shot in Mumbai and with some Indian actors; except for these, India can hardly lay claim on the movie.

Boyle himself told The Times of India’s Meena Iyer over the telephone soon after the Oscars ceremony that “in reality it is a British film. It is very gritty in the beginning and very realistic, because our movie culture is based on that kind of realism which is Hollywood, and Bollywood is not quite there.”

Beyond this, Boyle is British, and the film was funded by European money. So, there is very little India here.

Are Indians so desperate for global recognition that they are willing to claim “Slumdog Millionaire” as their own, ignoring the fact that it shows little concern for India’s teeming millions who live in grinding poverty.

Some may point out that Satyajit Ray, who opened Indian cinema to the world in the mid-1950s, also essayed poverty. But if one were to closely examine his body of work, one would find that his images highlighted compassion for the downtrodden, generating empathy. He never capitalized on poverty, never flaunted it for publicity. This can be clearly seen even in his very first movie, “Pather Panchali (The Song of the Little Road).”

Boyle, on the other hand, appears unconcerned with the struggle of Mumbai’s slum-dwellers, whose resilience and contribution to the city’s workforce is astounding. “Slumdog Millionaire” takes a purely consumerist approach with scene after scene shot with an eye for sheer effect.

Take, for instance, the scene where the boy Jamal jumps into a pit of human excreta and emerges sullied and stinking only to get an autograph from his favorite film star, Amitabh Bachchan in this case.

Take another scene where the teenage Jamal, just one correct answer away from his millions in the game show, is hung upside down in a police station and tortured with electricity because the quiz master is convinced that the boy is a cheat. A little earlier, we see the quiz master deliberately trying to mislead Jamal with an incorrect answer and get him out of the race.

These images are dramatized to drive the movie’s point of view, a depressingly unflattering image of India. Penury is celebrated. Destitution, squalor, beggar mafia and prostitutes stare at us from the frames — magnified to distortion, glorified silly and used as tools of titillation for those who feel that India is all these and nothing else.

Is this not what the developed West wants to see of India: its underbelly of crime, corruption and poverty that appears all black, dark and depressing, with little gray or goodness?

Filmmaker K. Hariharan writes in The Hindu: “For the majority of Western audiences writhing under the excruciating weight of the global meltdown, a fairy tale about the ugly side of India should certainly come as an orgiastic catharsis! ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ should be considered one of the most gratuitous fantasies created about India in the 21st century.”

To top it all, Boyle’s title “Slumdog” has angered those who live on the periphery. Nicholas Almeida, a social activist and Mumbai slum-dweller himself, has filed a complaint in a city court against Boyle, producer Christian Colson and the distributor, saying the title is damaging and discriminating.

“When the British ruled India, they called Indians ‘dogs.’ Why do we want to call these poor children depicted in the celluloid work ‘dogs’ 60 years after independence,” said Almeida, an elected member of the city’s civic body. It is sad that Boyle, who showed his anger in “Trainspotting,” had to direct such a disappointing movie and that the Oscars and Golden Globes played along by honoring it.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai, India-based journalist.

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