Thursday, May 7, 2009

Slumdog Controversy

End wedding rants and now back to our regularly scheduled blogging: India

Slumdog Millionaire. Have you seen it? You should. Even if you're not a huge Indiaphile like me, it's a great movie. It won Oscars, acclaim, media attention, Indian backlash, stirred up an entire controversy over accuracy and voice appropriation. And now, if you haven't heard it already, it is started a media blitz on the issue of the father of one the child actress trying to sell his daughter for $300 000. This article brought the continued controversy to my attention (I'd heard it before, but this one made me think about some of the additional consequences behind the debate).

While I applaud Danny Boyle for having looked after the child actress' education, recent media attention has started questioning how well the film is actually providing for the young stars from Mumbai.

I obviously don't have an answer to this question. However, I wonder how much can be done without overwhelming the family. I mean, if you move them to a better home, will they be alienated from the world they know? What if they stay in the same area but seem to possess more wealth, how will that impact their peers looking to them for help? For that matter, how will it impact them even if they move but their peers know where they've moved? In a group where there is so little, would giving them the profits directly actually lead to more harm than good? But then again, who are we to dictate how the money is spent? I'm sure that all of these issues and more were taken into consideration when they were paying the young stars.

At the end of the day, I don't know if there really is a perfect solution but I'm hard pressed to believe that the father would actually want to sell the daughter that has just provided him with riches beyond what were previously known. Particularly since doing so would ensure that he would lose the continued support to be gained from the measures put in place to take care of the young star.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sajjad Hussain

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