This is a comment from a regular visitor (an American girl) to my blogs who rarely posts comments. This time she chose to do it . I thought I'll post it as a blog instead of a comment. It gives a fresh point of view. I think being too close to the scene, we tend to get sensitive to the point of losing our objectivity. This comment was quite an eye opener for me.
I was waiting for the slum dog millionaire blog. I had two thoughts from the "westerner" perspective.
But first of all, I absolutely loved this movie. I felt like I'd been through the entire gambit of human emotion by the end. I cried, I almost threw up, I shrieked in horror, I cried and cried some more. An Indian friend remarked to the effect that there was my two hours of social awareness. Was it my favorite Indian movie? No. But, one of my top 10 movies of all time? Yes. Anyway, I think the reason it was so popular is not bc it was a look at "India's dirty backyard" or a reality TV show of India. But, for the same reason that many of these films /novels/stories are famous. For the same reason we love Odysseus, Edmond Dante, Jean Val jean, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela etc. etc. This movie captures the true human spirit. The ability to overcome the most dire circumstances and rise above it all. Not to mention that the sound track was great!!!
However, back to the two points that are kind of interesting.
1) The title "slum dog millionaire". From your blog it sound like "dog" is a very derogatory term in India. You many say to yourself. Yes, obviously. But, in American culture the word "dog" is used quite differently. Calling someone a dog in one of the inner cities in America is like calling them "brother". So a gangster type would say "what's up dog?" to a good friend, followed by a hand shake and a hug. Now obviously in the movie this was used in the derogatory sense. But, I think that it was named this way to make it popular in western culture. When I first saw "slum dog millionaire" I didn't even look at it, I just assumed it was about drug deals in inner city Detroit or Chicago, movies that I don't particularly care for, but are very popular in America.
2) This is a movie that I kept thinking about for days and days after. So the "social awareness" aspect obviously had an effect. So a few days after I saw the movie I was talking to my Indian friends about the movie. The aspect of the movie that they just couldn't believe was that the couple kissed at the end! I almost fell over...with the abuse, the torture, the corruption, the conditions that people lived in...you couldn't believe they showed two people kiss?