29 March 2009
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE,concluding part.
It is this second India, which is depicted as the central theme in not only SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, but also in this years Booker Award winning novel THE WHITE TIGER. So, is there finally some sense of connection with the India ,which is lagging behind and and trying to survive the onslaught of the prosperous India? Let us talk about these artistic creations first. What I sincerly feel is , that ,both these creations should be viewed mainly as a piece of art.they are not meant to be viewed as surveys. To demand authenticity from an art form is like demanding electricity from an water storage tank. But for few reasons I expected some authenticity from these creations.To be true I must say that Adiga’s novel disappointed me completely on this front.The main protagonist Munna’s tale is a commentary on India.But It is not Munna’s tale.It is Adiga who speaks on his behalf. What Adiga says and describes through Munna's storiy ,is not,what he ,himself has seen or felt, but only what he thinks and perceives, others should feel in any given circumstances. And here he has failed very miserably. Every individual irrespective of his class or caste has his own share of joy,happiness and hope.Any novel must see and depict those joys and emotions .This makes the novel authentic.The White Tiger not only lacks authenticity it also lacks the grip over human emotions .it has just been reduced to a commentary, which is very sadly, one sided and tourist eyed. it sees darkness but shuts its eyes to light. In comparison, Slumdog Millionaire scores some points over White Tiger. it is not lost compeletely in the murkier aspects of life.It inspires hope. It has some very visible shades of real India.but ,still the question of authenticity haunts it too. The film is basically a fairytale , an impossible story of triumph of hope. contrary to popular beliefs,It is neither a story of indian slums,nor is it based on the lives of slumdwellers.Slumdog Millionaire lacks sympathy with the people of slums.the scene in which the boy,Salim emerges from an oozing latrine is aimed at generating sensation rather than empathy with the slum lives. to bill slumdog a poverty porn is not fair. Slumdog is not a poverty porn.In India poverty is a reality,which must be faced head on,and any attempt of exposing the matrix of poverty should be welcomed.But sadly, in Slumdog Millionare,poverty is no problem.For every slum dweller poverty leads to work,whichever work they opt.It may be car washing to stealing to robbery.But this is not the case with Slumdog Millionaire.There is not a single turn in story which is the result of poverty. basically what we admire about slumdog millionaire is not related with the story itself but the technique of story telling. So why so much euphoria over the oscar to slumdog millionaire?isn’t it true that if the same film would not have won the Oscars ,we won’t have given much attention to it..In recent years we had some very soul touching films made in India, like , HAZARON KHWHAISHEN AISI , WATER ,DOR, SWADESH,THE WEDNESDAY,or AAMIR but these film went passed us, almost unnoticed. In fact in the case of Slumdog Millionaire,we are not stuck by the concept of the film but by the international awards it haswon. The euphoria generated by this film is understandable.an Oscar has always been an elusive dream for many Indians.Winning no Oscars may be due to many reasons.It may be due to the fact that we are still not grown up to the standard of the west,or it may be due to our emphasis on commercial cinema,but it may also be due to our colonial history.or it may even be due to the perceived inferiority of Indian cinema in the minds of western world. This theory may be applied to understand the fact ,that in almost, last one hundred years no Indian author (those who write in regional languages),have been able to win any big international award. Does it mean that the local Indian literature is substandard and second class.many of you, unfortunately believe,it to be true. If any of yoy would have read, KITNE PAKISTAN by Kamleshwar,or KALIKATHA VIA BIPASS, by. Alka Saragwi or DEEWAR ME KHIDKI REHTI THI by Vinod Kumar Shukla or LEKIN DARWAJA by Pankaj Bishta,or RAAG DARBARI by Shrilal Shukla,or novels by Mahashweta Devi, or Indira Goswami,and those innumerable intense tales of human emotions and plight ,written in our native languages,then only you could understand the truth behind the advertised idea of inferiority of Indian language and literature. If only you would have read RAMCHARIT MANAS, or PADMAVAT, then only you could have resisted the label of “below standard”, pasted on our language and literature. But being a former colony we have grown in such a way that we always yearn for international recognition.in fact we have become a glory starved nation.the irony is that an international award can even prompt us to celebrate our own poverty.but we ourselves keep on neglecting our own rich heritage. Perhaps ,one day when people,from the other side of the globe will recognise our own language, our own literature,our art and architecture,our cultre, then only we shall be able to understand the importance of it. till then, it is OK with Arundahti Roys,Arvind Adigas , Mcburgers,Pizzas ,Zazz,. Pop Music, belly dance and ..............keep waiting for outside recognition.