‘Multinational companies reject Slumdog Millionaire’

October 31st, 2008 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 31 (IANS) Mercedes-Benz and a multinational soft drinks company insisted on removing their logos from scenes in “Slumdog Millionaire” because they did not want to be associated with a Mumbai slum, the film’s director says.The film, based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s rags-to-riches novel, premiered Thursday night at the gala closing of the London Film Festival to critical acclaim and is predicted to be one of the biggest hits of the year.

But director Danny Boyle told The Times newspaper that Mercedes-Benz and the drinks company believed their brands would be sullied if shown in a Mumbai slum - the film’s setting.

He said Mercedes-Benz pulled out of a chase scene that culminates with a slumlord in dark glasses emerging from a white saloon car.

“The thing (you did not see) was the Mercedes logo on that car,” Boyle said after the screening.

“We had to take that off because Mercedes don’t want to be associated with being in a slum. We wanted to use a Mercedes because… this guy, this gangster would drive a Mercedes… But if you use Mercedes then clearly you have to get permission, and we asked for their permission and they refused it,” the director said.

The paper said Friday Mercedes-Benz apparently gave permission for its logo to appear on the gangster’s car when it was parked outside his mansion and on a car hired by wealthy American tourists.

Boyle also spoke about having to disguise the logo of a global drinks company.

“There is a scene where the kids are on a rubbish dump and they get offered these bottles of… popular fizzy drink.

“Not only were we not allowed to use their name, basically we had to paint over the label on the bottle as well.

“So we ended up paying tens of thousands of pounds painting out these symbols which are meant to unite the world, aren’t they?” Boyle added.

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