Slumdog Reality

'It cut terrifyingly close to the bone as it took us straight into the innards of this brutal world, where wide-eyed kids lose their innocence (and their eyes) at the hands of ruthless gangsters who mutilate, maim, kidnap and kill at will. And the first thought that came to mind is that it has taken an 'outsider' (Danny Boyle), to go fearlessly into 'No Man's Land' and hold up a mirror to our sordid society — the same one that looks the other way... and flinches when confronted. It also makes one wonder why some of our entirely over-rated, desi directors (homegrown products, at that), have failed so spectacularly in spelling out the ugly truth about Mumbai's dark world as transparently and convincingly? Whether or not Boyle's film wins an Oscar or two is immaterial. It should be made compulsory viewing for anybody who wants to understand the shocking, ghastly subtext that deals with the 'other' Mumbai — the one that feeds on abject poverty and paradoxically enough, also on the soaring hope that this same poverty breeds success...

But Slumdog... is Boyle's gift to Mumbai. He has unblinkingly shown us the rather hideous face of this devastated metropolis that still remains the magnet for the rest of India, despite its faultiness. We would naturally prefer to hide this grotesque, menacing aspect which is enough to make every citizen cringe with shame. But, in Boyle's interpretation there is still lyricism, tenderness and love under all that grime. What do you call that? Genius is a good place to start... O Danny Boy, O Danny Boy... we love you so!'

- Shobhaa De, 'Slumming it out in Mumbai'.


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