Now that the finality of an Oscar to a film, made by a foreigner but based on the hard reality in India, gets the Indians much to celebrate about, the question to be asked is what is it that we are exactly happy about?
We should be happy that AR Rahman finally got his due and so did the Indian sound artist Resul Pookutty. My personal bit is I am extremely happy for Anil Kapoor who did not get his due in Bollywood also. India got the due recognition and two months of spotlight, but certainly not its film industry and for its quality and standards for whatever the worth it may be.
Amitabh Bachchan’s criticism of SM showing the “underbelly of a third world country” may have sparked a frisson among the patriots but the fact remains nothing shown in the film is fabricated or exaggerated. We are what we are. There is no point cribbing the director showed only the dark part and not the bright parts. Danny Boyle was not making a documentary of India’s problems. It is not a rag-to-riches story either; it is a love story. Remember, Jamal Malik insists on the show, he came on air to search for his girlfriend.
Boyle deserves his award for his direction but is based on a novel and lacks ingenuity. Rightly so, even the distributors of the film were sceptical about the film with the midway approach of using English and Hindi titles. Accept it or not, the film got its initial wave of curiosity only because it came in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack.
So what are we happy about?
Should we be happy that the western world grudgingly allowed us to once again piggy back and share some insights into our world courtesy their binoculars a la Gandhi. It is their film, not ours.
Is it just a coincidence that a film with negative shades of India won an award while films with strong messages like Rang de Basanti and Taare Zameen Par and forceful movies like Lagaan and Salaam Bombay?
Is it again too much of a thought that we are happy nonetheless because they said Jai Ho to our song-and-dance formula, which incidentally was limited to a cameo right at the end.
Why are we seeing it as the start of a trend? If “poverty porn” is the beginning, is this the first impression we would like to have?
The reaching of SM to the Kodak stadium is a Cindrella story in itself. Miracles do happen but they don’t happen often either.
PS: Interestingly, the original blog in which the Big B criticised Boyle for the underbelly depiction has been taken off from the site. So much for standing up to his grievances against media misusing the freedom of speech and expression, as he has mentioned as the purpose for his blog at http://www.bigadda.com
Also read: How SM almost failed to hit the big screen