‘Slumdog…’ title not offensive, but metaphor: scriptwriter

January 21st, 2009 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Simon Beaufoy, the screenplay writer of Danny Boyle’s Golden Globe winning “Slumdog Millionaire” Wednesday said the title of the film was only a “metaphor”.”There was absolutely no sense I wanted to insult anybody. I just liked the idea of the metaphor (Slumdog),” Beaufoy told reporters here.

“As a part of my research, I was wandering in the slums. I was very intrigued by the cats and dogs wandering around there, who dared to be asleep in the sunshine. Though they do look carefree from the outside, they are watching everything from the rims of their eyes,” he said.

“It is like somebody who is apparently not worthy of an existence but is actually looking at everything and eyeing everything out - just like the boy in the game show who knows everything not through intelligence but through experience. So, I just made up the word,” he added.

Loveleen Tandon, the film’s co-director, echoed the same sentiment and said: “ ‘Slumdog’ is the way the protagonist of the film is referred to. It’s actually an English translation of the way we refer to a man from the street or a slum.”

“He’s looked upon as someone who wants nothing, and in order to say that, it’s expressed in this kind of harsh way to make him feel like nothing. It’s not that the film is trying to say that a man living in the slums is a dog,” she explained.

Patna-based social worker Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, general secretary of the Jhuggi Jhonpdi Samyukta Sangharsh Samiti, earlier dragged “Slumdog Millionaire” to court, contending that the sensibilities of the slum dwellers have been offended by the movie title.

“I don’t feel I’ve written a film about poverty. That never occurred to me. What I genuinely felt in my heart was the (slum) people’s massive spirit and massive determination to overcome terrible troubles. That’s how I approached it. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is a fairytale,” said Beaufoy, who was here with Boyle, producer Christian Colson and the main cast of the movie.

Set in Mumbai, the film is about a slum boy who wins a TV quiz show and stars debutante Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. The film has bagged four Golden Globe awards and 11 BAFTA nominations.

Having already raked in $43 million at the US box office and making a mark in the US Top 10, it is releasing in India Jan 23.

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