Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Truth About Slums..?

I am a big fan of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. I thought it was very well done. It seemed to be a relatively honest portrayal of the slums of India (although I certainly admit that I wouldn't know). It did have somewhat of an unlikely fairytale ending, but c'mon - it is a movie after all. I would totally recommend it.

However, I ran across this article today and I thought it was worth passing along: Man Bites ‘Slumdog’: Don't let the movie mislead you: there are no fairy-tale endings for most of India's street kids. I was one of them myself.

"On the way to see "Slumdog Millionaire" in Kolkata, I had my cabdriver pass through the slum district of Tangra. I lived there more than 35 years ago, when I was in my late teens, but the place has barely changed. The cab threaded a maze of narrow lanes between shacks built from black plastic and corrugated metal. Scrawny men sat outside, chewing tobacco and spitting into the dirt. Naked children defecated in the open, and women lined up at the public taps to fetch water in battered plastic jerry cans. Everything smelled of garbage and human waste. I noticed only one difference from the 1960s: a few huts had color TVs.

I still ask myself how I finally broke out. Jamal, the slumdog in Danny Boyle's award-winning movie, did it the traditional cinematic way, via true love, guts and good luck. People keep praising the film's "realistic" depiction of slum life in India. But it's no such thing. Slum life is a cage. It robs you of confidence in the face of the rich and the advantaged. It steals your pride, deadens your ambition, limits your imagination and psychologically cripples you whenever you step outside the comfort zone of your own neighborhood. Most people in the slums never achieve a fairy-tale ending."

Read the rest of the article here.


Julie said...

I think this can be true for any homeless person anywhere in the world; not just India. You know that odds are, in "real life" that a happy ending isn't very realistic. But that is what makes these movies so uplifting. Regardless of how likely it is.

Similarly with homeless children in third world countries. How lucky they are for people like you and Mark who can give them a happy ending.

Love you.

Thankfulmom said...

I will never forget the time we spent in what is probably considered a "slum" in Ethiopia. It is one of the poorest places in Addis and has one of the highest rates of HIV+ children. We were visiting our daughter's extended family. We have now been there three times, and the harsh reality of life there will never leave us.

Thanks for sharing this.