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May 4, 2009

Dear Mr Rushdie, I love you.

How bloody convenient for Danny Boyle to completely remove Christianity and insert that Hindu-Muslim rioting in Slumdog Millionaire.

Did you know
there is no Mumbai Hindu-Muslim, communal violence sequence in Vikas Swarup's Q and A? That's the book Slumdog is based upon. Instead, what the book has is a scene where the hero of the film is nearly molested by a Christian priest. Why the change I wonder? Meryl Streep can play a priest-questioning nun in Doubt but Danny Boyle cannot show it in his 'Bollywood' movie? The West wouldn't want India questioning the priests perhaps?

Please don't misunderstand; I am no great lover of Hinduism. I don't understand it, like almost every other religion. I get the point of God, I don't get the point of religion. But that's another post, another time. What's got my goat (again) is the sheer idiocy of
Slumdog and how the West sees it as India. It's not and it's rot.

I have really tried to think about it in positive terms, I cannot.
This is called being vindicated. This is what Salman Rushdie has to say (I forgive his Padma Lakshmi debacle because of this):

Author and critic Salman Rushdie has responded negatively to both the film Slumdog Millionaire and the novel on which it is based, Q & A. In his essay on film adaptations, "A Fine Pickle," Rushdie argues that the plot of Swarup's novel is "a patently ridiculous conceit, the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name. It is a plot device faithfully preserved by the film-makers, and lies at the heart of the weirdly renamed Slumdog Millionaire.

As a result the film, too, beggars belief." He made similar statements about Slumdog Millionaire in a talk given at Emory University, arguing that its plot "piles impossibility on impossibility," and in an earlier interview with The New York Times, where he conceded that he found the film "visually brilliant. But I have problems with the story line.... It just couldn’t happen. I’m not adverse to magic realism but there has to be a level of plausibility, and I felt there were three or four moments in the film where the storyline breached that rule."

Rushdie also blasted Boyle's admission that he made the film in part because he was unfamiliar with India, challenging Boyle to imagine "an Indian film director making a movie about New York low-life and saying that he had done so because he knew nothing about New York and had indeed never been there. He would have been torn limb from limb by critical opinion. But for a first world director to say that about the third world is considered praiseworthy, an indication of his artistic daring. The double standards of post-colonial attitudes have not yet wholly faded away."

14 comments:

freudian slip said...

A> newer reader of thy blog, remembered you from the NDTV interview. Love it

B> as much as id love to hate the man whose been selling millions of ruddy stupid books, simply because people still expect a midnights repeat. and because i refuse to believe a man could voluntarily let padma lakshmi go. despite all that. he has a point about this one.

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Freud? Slip?:
A. Thankyou
B. Think she was doing the letting go...or running off.

Sree said...

Feels stupid being out there and answering to silly questions about India which they grabbed from this movie and then spending time explaining this isnt India etc which ofcourse they wont understand since the big visual image over powers the words i tried to put in their mind.Have even passed sticky notes to this guy who sat next to me at work,explaining my point.Wish i could send him this link.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Yes Mr. Rushdie, you're not such a bad egg after all.

This post of yours only serves to reinforce what I've been hollering all along, that this movie was made with a one-point agenda...to sweep all the award ceremonies.

June said...

Oh! I didnt know that. Havent read Q&A, thank you for bringing it to our notice.

There is creative liberty, and then there is fuck all twisting a story just to suit a stereotype.

ahmad raza said...

1. @freud:correction-midnight's children is not his only good work.i found the satanic verses pretty fascinating too.If you read the book without any Islamic forethought,then it’s a fantastic piece of fiction. He has used all the examples which aren’t to be brought up on Islam’s dinner table and has created some hilarious paradoxes.
2. my floundering faith in the academy of motion pictures took a serious blow when they gave the best movie Oscar to Slumdog...and how can someone who has made a movie like Trainspotting get it so wrong??serious case of playing to the gallery!!
3. i just fail to understand how he gets all the gorgeous ladies!!

TW said...

Agree.. I had cribbed about why, why suddenly mediocre Indian based themes are getting so much undeserved international attention!

Slumdog, the movie, and White Tiger, the book, both fall in this category. Yet, it is only the average Indian that sees them in the light of reality!!

Are the rest of them really just dumb? I wonder if something else is going on??!

Btw.. your post is about a couple of things (religion, mis-perceptions of Indian-ness) I have been ranting about for sometime.. glad to see I am not alone :)

TW

Kartikey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kartikey said...

jb,
whatever salman talks of is visible in our writings. perhaps he (and surely naipaul) would point out

Please don't misunderstand; I am no great lover of Hinduism.in your post.

like you, i have tried to find positives in the movie. i like the visual brilliance part but the glamorizing of poverty and pain seems unnecessary. perhaps the nation was reveling in western attention

Anonymous said...

Eve* aka JB

I love you. You look very happy in your gravatar (or whatever its called).

Entering the 30s are we?

Amol

Anonymous said...

Everything is based on a roadmap. We were due for Oscars. But not that due. Hence the UK hand. Or some such reasoning. Besides who cares about all the symbolism anyway. India would remain India - jacked!

Would Happy Birthday be too clichéd?

Ajay

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Ajay; Amol: thankyou for the wishes.

Espèra said...

That last part is quite true.

I haven't seen the movie so I can't really comment on that much. I did read the book though. The movie seems like it'd be a typical Bollywood flick with the naach-gana. And while the book is "piles impossibility upon impossibility", it isn't all that bad really.

Anonymous said...

By the way, what's the point of God?