“Slumdog Millionaire” – the movie (2008); Cultural Globilization* not a Cosmopolitan** Culture (Part B).

“Slumdog Millionaire” the movie,directed by the British director Danny Boyle,produced by the American producer Christian Colson,and distributed by the all-powerful American distributing company Fox Searchlight,was released at the end of 2008,and by June 2009,had grossed more than 213 million american dollars worldwide(p.2.www.themiamihurricane.com/2009/ 04/05/slumdog-kids-remain…).

Two of the child actors in the movie,Rubina Ali Qureshi,nine,who plays Latika,the girlfriend of the two young brothers, and Azharuddin Mohammed,ten,who plays Salim,the youngest of the two brothers,were paid 3,000 and 1,060 american dollars respectively,for 30 days work on the set,and were paid “nothing” for their public appearances in promoting the movie.There were personal appearances in the U.K and the U.S. debuts of the movie ,as well as in the various award ceremonies such as the Oscars of Hollywood (p.2.www.themiamihurricane.com/2009/04/05/slumdog-kids-remain…).How do we know all these details about 2 amateur child actors who come from the slums of Mumbai??It΄s because there was a “worldwide” outcry when it was discovered that these “child stars” of Hollywood were still living in the Garib Nagar slum area of Mumbai ,the same slum area that was used by the American director Danny Boyle as setting ,for the first part of his film (p.1. www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2009/02/25/200…).

An Indian reporter,Randeep Ramesh, who lives in New Delhi and writes for the famous leftist British newspaper “The Guardian”,gives the following description of an Indian slum area in New Delhi,comparing it to the slums in Mumbai,filmed for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.He says the following:”…Like the setting of the film,Delhi΄s Wazirpur slum,is lined by shacks packed so tightly,they are accessible only by walking in single file past oozing sewers.In a tiny bare brick space,barely two metres by two and a half,diminutive Priya Oriya eats,cooks,bathes,sleeps and watches television.She shares the room with another woman…Priya,17,has chosen to be a slumdog,and her life reads like a film script…”(p.2.www.guardian. co.uk/world/2009/jan/10/slumdog-millionnaire…).It΄s exactly under such “inhuman conditions” that the child actors,Rubina Ali Qureshi and Azharuddin Mohammed are still living in the city of Mumbai.So what was the response to this public criticism from the people responsible for making this movie.Listen to what they said ,so you could better understand what are exactly the “criteria”,the”values” and the real “goals” of Today΄s Cultural Globalization.

The first response came from Danny Boyle the director and Christian Colson the producer,who released to the press a statement defending the financial arrangements they had made with these two child actors,but who really in their “minds” and “conscience” these kids had remained just two young “slumdogs” from Mumbai.They didn΄t feel any “human shame” when they said the following:”…Since June 2008 and at our expense,both kids have been attending school and they are flourishing under the tutelage of their dedicated and committed teachers.Financial resourses have been made available for their education until they are 18…”(p.2.http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/733788/slumdog-millionaire).What they didn΄t specify in their statement, was the fact that the financial resources made available for these children was “40 american dollars per month each”,for both books and for “food”(p.2.http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/733788/slimdog-millionaire).40 “measly” american dollars per month for each child,when the movie “Slumdog millionaire” has grossed more than 200 million american dollars within a half a year after its release.What a “horrible” joke!!!What “obnoxious” human types!!!

Let us now look at how the almighty American distributing company Fox Searchlight,responded to this public outcry at how these poor amateur child actors were treated by the people responsible for the movie.Fox Searchlight first made the “casual” unofficial comment that the children should feel “privileged” and “lucky” because by acting in the movie,they had earned “three times more” than the average annual salary of an adult in their neighborhood.Later on, they made the following official statement in a press release:”…Last year,after completing filming ,they were enrolled in school for the first time and a fund was established for their future welfare which they will receive if they are still in school when they turn 18…” (p.1.www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Lifestyle/Story/STI..).Let us first examine Fox Searchlight΄s “pathetic” and “distorted” commentary that these two children had earned “three times more” than the average annual salary of an adult in their neighborhood,meaning a “neighborhood of slums” where young and old ,live and survive by doing all the “menial” jobs which are available.If the average annual income in India is 941 american dollars,what would be the annual income of an adult living in a slum neighborhood??Therefore Fox Searchlight΄s “big talk” is both “unnacceptable” and “immoral”,especially when it concerns two “very poor young children”.The second part of their statement related to a fund established for the children which they will reimburse when they are 18,is pure “trickery” and “full of hot air”!!This is so ,because they will receive the money on condition that they will remain in school until they are 18.The people at Fox Searchlight, like good “pawnbrokers” of Today΄s Cultural Globalization and of course of “high profits” in the World Market System,know very well that 2 very poor young children,living and growing in slums,will soon have to work in order to “survive”.Continuing their education in the long-term, is “practically” and “realistically” almost an impossibility.These representatives of Today΄s Cultural Globalization always play with a “marked deck of cards” because they always have to win,at whatever cost for the others.These my friends are the “ethical values” of Cultural Globalization!!!

So what have we learned about Today΄s Cultural Globalization from the production of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”?? We have learned that Cultural Globalization is first of all a creation of the United States of America.We have also learned that Today΄s Cultural Globalization serves a variety of american interests around the world because it is America “which pulls all the strings”.It is the Power which formulates the everyday “criteria”,the everyday “social values” and the “incentives” under which all human beings should live ,irrespective of their cultural traditions,their history or their political ideologies.The ideal “human prototype” or “sacrificial lamb” should be one-dimensional,materialistic,competitive and full of fears and guilt feelings because there is more wealth to be had,more goods to be consumed and more people to impress or exploit.A human being is a “commodity”,which should be exploited to the fullest,and once it has served its purpose as a “profitable commodity” or as a viable “support system”,it can be “thrown into the bin”,with “no bad conscience”! Life has a meaning when human beings can serve passively or actively the established “social norms”.Social norms which don΄t allow for creative “human qualities” such as “empathy”,”altruism”,”imagination”,”direct communication”,”human initiative”,”human feelings”,”eroticism” and especially a free and creative life style.

In our next section on “Slumdog Millionaire”,we shall look at the other side of human reality,the creative side,when a Cosmopolitan Culture is promoted by free,healthy ,wholesome and natural people who not only respect the many “creative human qualities” and the “sanctity” of human life,but also the “mosaic” of human existence in all its dimensions and colours. This Cosmopolitan Culture we shall examine through Mira Nair΄s films,artistic creations and cultural initiatives.Mira Nair is the Indian-American director who first became famous with her first feature film,”Salaam Bombay”(Greetings to Mumbai) in 1988,presenting a true and human version of Indian children living in the slum neighborhoods of Mumbai.

* globalization-when available goods and services,or social and cultural influences,gradually become similar in all parts of the world

**cosmopolitan-containing or having experience of people and things from different parts of the world.