‘Slumdog’ is not ‘Pather Panchali’: Vikas Swarup

November 2nd, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 2 (IANS) The author of the book that inspired “Slumdog Millionaire”, a movie set in the Mumbai slums, says poverty is only one of many faces of India that finds a place in the acclaimed film.“We’re not recreating ‘Pather Panchali’,” said “Q&A” author Vikas Swarup, drawing an analogy with the classic 1955 Satyajit Ray classic that has rural Bengal as its backdrop.

“To me, India has many voices - there are the voices from the slums, as well as those from skyscrapers. India remains a land of contrasts,” said Swarup, a diplomat who took time out to attend the premiere of “Slumdog Millionaire” at the gala closing of the London Film Festival.

“I tried to give a voice to the Indian underclass because, of late, we have only been hearing about India’s economic growth story. We are not exoticising poverty, but you cannot ignore the fact that India is home to a large number of poor,” Swarup told IANS.

However, Swarup said rather than Indian poverty, India itself is the story.

“India is in - China has been done to death. There is a new hunger about India,” he said.

“Slumdog Millionaire” has won rave reviews in London and is already being tipped for an Oscar nomination.

The Independent wrote: “Over the past year, there has been much rhetoric about fostering closer relations between the British and Indian film industries. The two have now approved a co-production treaty. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which looks a certain hit, suggests that collaborations can be of mutual benefit and it is hard to think of many other recent British movies that have the energy tapped here.”

“The gala night was great,” said Swarup. “One lady told me - and I didn’t identify myself - that it is probably the best film she has ever seen,” said Swarup.

“The children, in particular, have done a marvellous job in the film.”

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