To What Extent Is Slumdog Millionaire an Accurate Representation of Modern India?

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Slumdog Millionaire is a British Drama Film, set in India. India is the second largest country by area in Asia, and with over 1.2 billion people it is the second most populous country in the world, after China. The film was released in 2008 and portrays the different aspects of India as a country. Throughout the film different themes are addressed especially the issue of poverty. The word Slumdog refers to someone who lives in a slum, as does Jamal Malik the protagonist in the film. During the film, the subject of poverty was actively depicted. Even though this issue has raised great concerns for India in the past, statistics show that this problem has gradually decreased. In 1978 the percentage of people living on less than $2 per day was at 89%, however now it has fallen to 69%. Even though this is still a large proportion of people, as it is over half the number of people living in India, we have to note that the crisis is slowly getting better. Slumdog Millionaire presented India as being a poor country lacking in money, but it failed to show its audience that India is improving. For example the unhygienic living conditions in the slums and the stealing of food for survival is shown, but is described in such an extreme way that the situations appear unrealistic. What they didn’t detail, was how India holds a significant proportion of the worlds riches and when richer people were actually shown, they are described in the extreme opposite of the poorer people. There was no in between, the characters had to be either awfully poor or exceedingly rich. This made the representation appear to be unrealistic because even thought there may be some people in that situation; middle class people were unsuccessful illustrated. This was probably the case because the film wad made to suit Hollywood, as the main aim was to make sure it attracted viewers. It was not ideally written to detail India in a truthful manner, so the truth may have been twisted by the writers. The film is written with the idea that if you are born poor you grow up poor, and vice versa. On the other hand, the film also brought us to the understanding that for India, crime is an immense problem. I agree that this is true because offenses such as rape have more than doubled in the last 20 years. However, the way in which it was shown, implies that India is quite and unfair and corrupted country lacking in justice, despite its rapid economic growth in recent years. This is, somewhat an accurate representation of modern India even though the whole of India is not like that. Nevertheless, I think that the portrayal of crime was shown in the most extreme way so that we feel as if we ourselves could never relate these crimes. Many people have said ‘the movie depicts different issues but just so happens to be set in India because these things happen around the world.’ This means that crime is a problem all over the world, so the different events shown in the film do not necessarily relate to India. In the film, Maman, a gangster who tricks and then trains street kids to become beggars, finds Jamal, Salim and Latika and keeps them. His initial aim was to teach them how to sing, and then blind them so that they could raise more money for him, but Jamal and Salim escape, upon knowing this. Later on, Latika is show to be sexually exploited by the gangster because she is a virgin. I believe that Slumdog Millionaire was accurate in its representation of crime, but it should have shown crime in such a way that would not make India seem completely bad. The reality of the poor conditions in the slums was precisely explained by the film. The film leads us to the conclusion that there was uneven development because some areas had slums, whilst other had high-rise buildings. This indirectly displayed the economic growth in India, as the total GDP has increased exceedingly in the last 30 years. We learnt from the film that people in the slums have a...
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