Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Countless words have been written on, countless opinions flung about and countless forums have discussed the representation of India in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the reality in it.

I shall leave all that to those who are better qualified than me to talk about. But there is no denying that slums are a part of India. For every Jamal who escaped there are 900,000 who continue to live there.

This piece in Newsweek touched me deeply. I want to share it with you all. It tells us without any fuss or frills the true story of someone who once lived in a slum - Sudip Mazumdar, Newsweek's own correspondent - in his own words.


Indrani said...

I just read the article, so touching! It has left me with a very uneasy feeling.

Anonymous said...

We need to accept the reality of slums. Instead of lamenting that someone, a foreigner, is reflecting reality, we should do something to get rid of the slums.

Anonymous said...

Nice post ma'am. Thanks to the link, I read the article by the Newsweek journalist. Thank you for that.

With regards

Happy Kitten said...

Thank you very much for posting it.. the article is very touching.. and it is the same feelings that the movie evokes too...

that it need not be.. these slums need not exist.. but nothing is being done while it would not need much to give them a life line.

It is only the rich who will get richer as the country develops.

Unknown said...

Slums are one of the many facets of India we want our governments to act upon and maybe this time with all the urban hue and cry about voting with the Jagore campaign, I hope something will be done

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Raji :)

You don't have to go anywhere to see and experience real slum life. They are in Chennai itself. You go to Pudupet, Chindadaripet, Nariayangadu etc. you can see the slums in its true, ugly form. You will be scared to walk inside the narrow streets lined with huts and plastic shelters.

The Tamilnadu Govt. has something called Slum Development Board but nothing much has been done to improve the living condition of the slum dwellers.

The road are filthy, garbage strewn all over the place, no proper toilet facilities, drinking water problem, people bathe only once a week-Friday for women and Saturday for men-,abounding with drunkards, drug addicts,rampant prostitution,unwanted pregnancies, fatherless children, pickpockets, robbers, gamblers, rowdies with knives ready to slash you at the slightest provpcaction, people sleeping on the roads in summer, huge bandicoots fearlessly roaming around, stinking gutters,innumerable disease stricken stray dogs etc.

Nothing can be done to eradicate slums because thousands and thousands of rural poor migrate to city slums looking for jobs and means of lively hood. They have no work in the villages and they starve there. Cities offer some work to keep their body and soul together.

Of course, the Government and big industrial undertakings flushed with money can surely do something to improve the living conditions of these miserable people.

Take a walk in one of these slums close to you to get first hand experience.

Best wishes :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing story. Also very sad at the same time, because such stories are so rare.
Thanks for the link, Raji.

Maddy said...

I felt the same when i read it. Mazumdar did the right thing - speak out his mind, not what his magazine asked him to.

Devika Jyothi said...

"Slumdogs aren't the only ones whose minds need to be opened up."

He put it so cuttingly straight...

Thank you for this post and link Raji :)


Swarna said...

Thanks for the link, Raji.
Let's look for the positives from this personal account, and hopefully the film too?

Soul Searcher said...

Thanks for the link to this extraordinary story which reminds us of reality behind the fantasy of cinema.

I will spare a thought for each of the Sudip Mazumdar's and Jamaal's who did not make it each time I apss a slum or a railway track

IIM ka Sarkari Babu said...

For a second I thought this article was written by a friend of mine in IIM L, his name is also Sudip Mazumdar... Nice one though...

Meera's World said...

nice touching article.i had mixed feelings about this movie.one thing,iam happy that two guys from india,one from my own state, won oscars through that movie.
on the other hand,i also thought about the effect that movie could make on foreigners about india.when i watch some english movies with stories about mexico,the only thing i see is poverty,unhealthy surroundings etc etc,in total a depressing place to live .when i think about mexico ,this is what comes to my mind.so iam wondering,when others see this movie,wont they be also thinking the same way?there is a lot of ignorance about india among the outsiders,so a movie like this could only make things looks worse in their eyes.a friend of mine told me after watching the bombay blast in news,she never thought there were such luxurious hotels in india!! she is a teacher in a high school...at the same time ,there is no denying the fact that slums DO exists.but well,as i said,i have mixed feelings about this movie:)

Kat said...

Our maid comes from a nearby slum. She has three kids - the son studied till 9th and now become a no good, her two daughters are studying well. They are smart, neat and good. I am sure they're going to charter a better life for themselves.

And such people I do see in my neighbours' flats too.

What I see different in them from the rest is, the urge within them to develop themselves and their children.

Such people who have the determination, with our help however small are sure to get out of this slum brand and lead a decent life.

It'd greatly help if Govt. and NGOs work further to enlighten the ones who have this spark in them.

Ayyappan said...

Sometimes, when traveling in Bombay, I come across slums.The happiness in the kids' faces never ceases to astonish me..! To think our lives are tough and a struggle at that..!

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

oh, raji aunty, after u mentioned the movie to me today, i suddenly remembered that your previous post had something to do with it...and I ended up reading the entire article! So touching,..and i finally understood why i liked the movie...it was because the movie had such a perfect ending, it showed me exactly what i wanted to see..i never gave much thought to how realistic or unrealistic the movie was!! Thanks a lot for that link...it made me think...

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

*think back


Indrani, just what I felt - uncomfortable.

Pradeep, I agree totally.

Madhav, I wanted to share it with everyone.

Happy Kitten, Some day in the future, I hope, the slums disappear...

T and S, I hope so too.

Joseph, such a sad truth.

Kamini, yes, I am glad I could share it.

Maddy, Mazumdar is one courageous person.

Devika, so true.

Swarna, I agree.

Soul Searcher, yes the right view.

Varun, yes - there is a lesson somewhere there.

Meerasworld - welcome firsttimer. Let us remember it is only a movie made from the perspective of an outsider. He presents it as he sees it, and he is not in it for any social service, but to make money out of it, and awards too if possible.

Kat, yes, let us hope that the Govt gets its act together and does something.

Ayyo - children are wonderful

Lakshmi, very nice comment

Nagesh.MVS said...

Nice post.
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