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Slumdog Millionaire's Indian Sensibility

By: By: Arya Aiyappan
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Slumdog Millionaire has bagged 8 Oscars and taken the country by a storm, even when global melt down is an imminent reality. The movie revolves around a game show and how a boy who hails from the Mumbai slums hits the bull's eye. Danny Boyle's movie with its uncanny narration has left the nation going gaga over the movie. However when many vouchsafe by its realistic representation of the Indian reality, one must definitely ponder to think, is the Indian sensibility ably captured or has it imparted a new dimension to our cultural ethos?

When we Indians are segregated on grounds of our views in favour or against the movie, what needs to be borne in mind is that though the movie is directed by Danny Boyle, a foreigner, it does have something to tell. When we rake our heads over issues pertaining to the depiction of the Indian reality, why do we tend to overlook the fact that the director has brought forth sensitive yet pertinent issues in the Indian social sphere. The passionately intense love between the Muslim boy Jamal and the Hindu girl Latika calls for a sensitively sensible representation and director has done justice to his role.

Even while portraying the intricacies of the love affair, he covertly drives home the point that even Muslims have their roots in India. Without vociferously campaigning for them, he has sensitively pictured them through telling images, be it the innocent boy's zealous admiration for the Indian icon, Amitabh Bachchan or the intimate love of Jamal for Latika. Voicing the idea that citizens of a country share the same passion, he has given a new dimension to our religious preferences at a time when volatility is the norm.

Looking from a different angle and going by the title of the film, the decision to name the main protagonist as Jamal Malik may pick on some hidden ideologies of interest, when in the novel the author Vikas Swarup represented the postmodern hybridity with the lead character's identity as Ram Mohammad Thomas. But the victory does vindicate the choice and the filmamker's new perspective devoid of any predilections to any religious sentiment.

With the global acceptance of Indian technicians like Resul Pookutty has without doubt put India at par with the world famous masters. As this sound master reaps accolades, Kerala, a state chucked away in India's southern most tip finds itself in the global cultural sphere. In our country where actors dominate the limelight, the movie has given the technicians their due credit.

A R Rahman without doubt has charmed the world over with his mesmerizing and soul searching music. 'Jai ho' echoes the intrinsic Indian sentiment vociferously proclaiming aloud its cultural lineage and all the hard work has finally been paid off.

Eventually it must be acknowledged that every movie is about viewpoints and we appreciate that. Slumdog Millionaire is no different either. When Danny Boyle made the film it was undoubtedly his vision and imagination coloured by his awareness of the cultural ethosphere of the India which was imaged forth in the movie. Therein he stands vindicated but the ambiguous question lurks whether the Indian sensibility was faithfully rendered or whether the veil of western sophistication was proclaiming itself too loud and clear to go unnoticed.

When the Oscars have found their way to every Indian heart, many questions are left unanswered. The euphoria is mounting and the hour calls for celebrations, leaving room for more interpretations.

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