'Slumdog' name in poor taste : Mira Nair

PTI, PANAJI | 02 December 2010 13:22 IST

The title of Danny Boyle's film 'Slumdog Millionaire' raised many eyebrows in India but all was forgotten in its Oscar glory. Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair, who explored the subject far more deeply in her film 'Salaam Bombay', feels calling Mumbai street children as dogs was in poor taste.

Mira, who is here to attend a retrospective of her cinema at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), feels the name did not come from the soil. "We would have never used the name 'Slumdog'. It would not occur to us, because, even in casual conversation we would not think of calling a street child as a dog.

Obviously it did not come from the soil or from where these children live. It was from a different perspective. "Some of us even joked and said that it is like 'Salaam Bombay' on speed!" she said.

The 53-year-old director also does not feel that 'Slumdog Millionaire' represents the true image of India. "Slumdog's India is a different India. Mumbai attacks had happened and it sort of captured the interest of the people at that time. It was a different moment for India and that was the beauty of them coming here.

"I appreciated the beginning of the film because it had real street children playing the characters. The film

definitely had lot of energy and vitality but I still believe that the poetic power of the real life of street children here is something else," Mira said.

The director probed into the lives of the street children living in Mumbai in the 1988 film, which continues to be close to her heart. 'Salaam Bombay' was nominated for an Oscar but Mira said that it did not win because India did not figure in the US at that time.

"I remember when our film was nominated for the Oscars, me and Sooni (Taraporevala) were sitting next to each other and the actors could not even pronounce the name of the film properly, let alone our names. Sooni said 'India is still too far'. It just did not figure in anyone's mind at that time but that has changed now."

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Why, you ask, These children have the faces of heaven, why do you want to play this down, I'm curious, have you ever really looked into their smiles, dogs don't smile like this because they are not spiritual beings, their faces are the faces of the wolf, still covered with hair, they growl. I visited these children in Mumbai, they are dressed in poverty but they are not poor. They carry India's hope, you must try to realize this, they have not been sent here for Oscar Awards or exhibition, there not props or "slum dogs".

- Louis Profeta, New York | 30 th May 2011 16:22


Why cant you just accept the fact that they meant ''an underdog living in the slum''??

- sudhir, canacona | 06 th December 2010 14:11


Slumdog or top dog actually may not be intended to persons or children, it is just allegoric of survival in the midst of poverty and misery. But again to win an Oscar there is more to it than meets the eye. There have been good actors who didn't make it in time or never.

India now is referred to as an emerging economic power whereas in the old days we did not figure in anything but snake charmers. It is a sad fact of life and celluloid screen.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 04 th December 2010 16:19


Mira Nair your comment you said Slumdog name is

poor taste.Did you ever comment any religious film

like passion christ etc. People like you only raise such comment which does not make sense. Indian film producer or directors make movies only which benefit for them. Something to show facts and to show society like human creed is bad taste? Then indian film board is very poor to judge any good film then say disclaimer. .

- Domnick Rodrigues, Goa | 04 th December 2010 12:19


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