As Oscar night draws near, Indian furor over Danny Boyle’s acclaimed film, Slumdog Millionaire, reaches a fevered pitch. India is being shown in a bad light! cry Indians who have never set foot in Dharavi or any other slum.
Indeed, they need not be familiar with the slum environment to mount their charge. Their complaint is fundamentally divorced from the question of the accuracy or fairness of Mr. Boyles’s depictions of the lives of slum-dwellers; it is about whether a foreign filmmaker is entitled to tell any story other than “India Shining”. This is a fable last told by the BJP in the 2004 elections. The Indian public didn’t buy it for a minute and, as a result, the BJP was able to snatch a stunning defeat from the jaws of victory. Congress has been running the government ever since.