The prolific Priyadarshan is shocked and disgusted by the importance being given to Danny Boyle's desi slum-n-trim saga Slumdog Millionaire. "Slumdog Millionaire is nothing but a cheap trashy mediocre version of those commercial films about estranged brothers and childhood sweethearts that Salim-Javed used to write so brilliantly in the 1970s. And please quote me clearly on this. If the Golden Globe and Oscars committees have chosen to honour this trashy film it just shows their ignorance of world cinema."
Priyan whose much-acclaimed film on the silk weavers of Kanjeevaram was shown alongside Boyle's bewildering busty tale at the Toronto Film Festival last year feels we Indians are exercising prideful property rights over a film that denigrates Mumbai.
"I saw the film with a mixed audience at the Toronto Film festival. The Westerners loved it. All the Indians hated it. The West loves to see us as a wasteland, filled with horror stories of exploitation and degradation. But is that all there's to our beautiful city of Mumbai?"
Priyan is surprised that Mumbai is celebrating a film that shows only the city's underbelly. "Why are we taking this treatment? Just because a whiteman has made Slumdog Millionaire, we"re so happy with it? I've read Vikas Swarup's novel Q & A. It should have been made by Mani Ratnam. Then you'd have seen what he would have done with Mumbai."
The angry director wonders why there isn't a single shot in Slumdog that shows the more aesthetic side of Mumbai? "Why has Danny Boyle not taken one shot of Marine Drive? Do his slum dwellers exist only within their slums? And look at the absurdities…A boy becomes a national hero on a game show. One cop takes him under arrest and interrogates him relentlessly. Where is everyone else? Is this kind of confinement possible in this age when television cameras enter your bedroom? If one of our filmmakers had made the same film we would have blasted him out of business." "Let them give as many Oscars as they like. We don't need to be impressed," ends Priyan angrily.