Slumdog Millionaire in Karachi?

Spoiler Alert: For those who still haven’t seen the movie, the post may reveal some of the plot. Read at your own risk!

A movie has multi-fold purposes. Some movies entertain, andsome movies educate. Still others make you think. Slumdog Millionaire, a movie shot in the slums of Mumbai, did a little of all of that. As the movie unreeled, telling the story of a street urchin who goes on to become a millionaire, I could’t help but place the boy in Karachi and wonder if his destiny would have been written any differently.

Finding parallels was easy. The begging bowl that replaces a boy’s eyes can be seen on every street corner. Little boys selling toys take the form of glass-cleaners in Karachi. The criminals-cum-godfathers, too are found here in abundance. The inescapable destiny of a gamine to become a prostitute has countless local examples too.  The unashamed indifference displayed by the police during the riots is not uncommon in Karachi either.

But there was one stark difference. The probability of a slumdog in Karachi rising to become a millionaire would be lower in Karachi because slums in Karachi don’t have schools that impart the quality of education that aquaint a child with the likes of Alexander Dumas. However, I also doubt if slum schools in India include ‘The Three Musketeers’ in their school curriculum.

As the movie is primarily made for foreign audiences, that little detail doesn’t matter. What matters is the bitter truth about the sorry state of affairs in the slums of Mumbai (that could easily be replaced by slums in Karachi) that the movie lade bare.

Watch the movie. By the end of it, you may think that it didn’t deserve the Golden Globe, but you will look at street kids around you differently.

10 Comments so far

  1. afzalanwar on January 14th, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

    "For those who still haven’t seen the movie,"!??

    The movie is not out yet to be seen! … or is it? I hope you are not talking about pirated DVDSCR prints here

  2. balma on January 14th, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

    I have seen this movie on big screen and it is very powerful.
    I almost cried at the seen when the little guys are being chased during the riot. I am getting very emotional just thinking of that seen right now. I think I should just quit for now.

  3. hena on January 14th, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

    I saw this movie a few weeks ago. It was amazing, some parts here and there could have been re-done, but overall it does educate/touch your heart just like a good movie should. I’m not sure if it deserved the Golden Globe or not, maybe it did — since its just a simple, true, from the heart type of movie — which we really don’t get to see much these days. I too, could see Karachi as a backdrop (minus the Who Want’s to be a Millionaire part). Well done UK/India. For those of you in Karachi, go ahead and hand 10 rupees or even more to that little kid next to your car asking for money! It’s all about your intention, and that’s all that matters. If it eventually does go to some criminal leader of his, at least you did your part to make that little kid’s day a little less horrific. Or better yet hand him some food! I’m done.

  4. barrister on January 15th, 2009 @ 12:12 am

    Ah, absolutely loved the movie especially the amazingly funny, “Amitabh Scene”.

    Yes, the rioting scene was very powerful – Bombay Riots.

  5. Afreen (afreen) on January 15th, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    I loved this movie and didn’t think 4 globes were too much. Imagine, this could be quite a real story. At least in india. I specifically was horrified of what happened to the kids who were picked, like the one who could sing bhajans well. All in all a must see.

  6. obiwankenobe on January 18th, 2009 @ 9:58 am

    Watched the movie and hated it. May be technicals are good but just one typical story. Waste of time and if movies like make you move then you seriously need to get more out of your house. Wasted 10 bucks :-(

  7. szulfiqar on February 1st, 2009 @ 12:47 am

    sidrat im here :p
    why? you will get to know soon!

    i JUST watched the movie…. indeed not worthy of geetin 4 globes but u know i hate it when a movie makes me think in a completely different way! i never give money to dese kids begging around…. but wht else can dey do in a country like OURS and India????…

  8. بستنی (wasiq) on February 1st, 2009 @ 1:29 am

    I agree with obi…my cable is showing it daily…its not the best of the best…they make better movies in bollywood…
    btw, why bollywood is still called bollywood….it should be Mullywood…since bombay is now called mumbai…

  9. بستنی (wasiq) on February 2nd, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

    watched the movie again tonight….my IMDB rating for this movie is 6(six)…sorry !

  10. بستنی (wasiq) on February 3rd, 2009 @ 10:11 pm


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