In general, Indian films are hero oriented. These films are portraying the hero having superpower to eliminate the enemies of the society, single handedly. He fights hundreds of villains, barehandedly and smash all of them. Portraying the hero as a saviour of poor people from all evils in the society is a common feature in our films. Slumdog is quite opposite to this popular notion. It portrays how the slum dwellers in Dharavi facing untold sufferings by criminals, police, dadas etc. It indirectly shows how after the Mumbai blast, innocent poor people were attacked by hooligans at the railway station; how the Malegaon bomb blast, carried out by Hindu chauvnist group, made poor muslims untold sufferings; how hapless unemployed poor North Indians and Bihari youths to face the onslaught of Shivsenites in Mahrashtra, a regional, parochial outfit, which earlier unleashed violence against poor Tamilians who work for the betterment of Maharashtra.
It is set in Mumbai's famous slums of Dharavi. It is about an underdog's journey to glory and jackpot, through qualor riots, beggar syndicates, rough and tumble, criminals and deceit. All this woven brilliantly into the format of questions and answers of prize winning talk show. It is truly classic in terms of cinematic merit-script, cinematography, music score, sound and rivetting performances.
So what's the problem? INDIA SHINIG CANNOT DIGEST THE REALITY. The armchair, ivory tower intelligentsia, which has never come to terms with real concerns is appalled. Arindam Choudary, the management guru to Amitabh Bachan complain of marketing "poverty pornography", "India depicted in a negative light" as if reality was different. The motives of criticism are suspect and class consciousness-driven. The plurality of India, producing Muslims like Allah Rakkha Rahman, Resul Pookutty is also probably infuriating to them.
Anil Kapoor performing the Shining Indians' alter ego, may have disturbed the collective consciousness of the elite, eternally famous for its indifference to real issues and contempt for the masses.
And about depicting India in a bad light Victoria Disica, one of the greatest masters of cinema produces master pieces like "Bicycle Thief" and "UMBERTO-D" set in the distress of depression of Europe. JFK and Enemy of the State (Both by Oliver Stone) tears apart the conspiracy, cunningness and brutality of the American political establishment. Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator lampoons Adolf Hitler and almost all his movies expose class oppression and paradoxes of the west. So the argument of negative depiction of our country is pure humbug.
That Slumdog Millionaire was awarded eight Oscars gives feeling that it is a well judged decision. All glory to the Slumdog team. May them bring in more such awards.