Mumbai’s misery in ‘Slumdog’ is the reality: Irrfan Khan

January 25th, 2009 - 8:57 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 25 (IANS) Oscar-nominated film “Slumdog Millionaire” has been criticised for selling Mumbai’s misery to the West, but actor Irrfan Khan says the filth and poverty shown in the movie by British filmmaker Danny Boyle are nothing but the reality.”It’s the reality. Why should it be swept under the carpet? Why should Danny Boyle have been concerned about what image of Mumbai goes out when we’ve done nothing to keep our own city morally and physically clean? Danny saw a good dramatic story on Mumbai. He came and shot that story,” Irrfan told IANS.

“As far as the filth goes we’re a dead and dying society, and the sooner we face up to it the better our chances of redeeming ourselves. Look at the Satyam scandal. Can you imagine how many working-class families have been ruined because of the avarice of top brass at the company? And I’m sure there’re many other companies just waiting to do a similar con job on us,” he added.

“Now if tomorrow another foreign filmmaker comes to do an expose on Satyam are we going to call him exploitative?” the actor remarked.

Set in Mumbai, “Slumdog Millionaire” is about a slum boy who wins a TV quiz show and also stars debutante Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto and Anil Kapoor. The film, which has bagged four Golden Globe awards and 10 Oscar nominations, sees Irrfan play a cop who interrogates the young hero to find out how he knew all the answers on the game show.

Irrfan, who has worked in international projects like “The Namesake” and “A Mighty Heart”, is also candid about his role in Danny Boyle’s film being chopped off for the sake of a clenched tightly wound narrative, but has no complaints.

“I saw how much my role was edited when I was dubbing for the Hindi version. My role, specially in the second half, has been drastically reduced. But I’m not complaining. Just look at the impact the film has made. I’m so proud to be part of it,” the actor said.

Shedding light on his role’s radical reduction, Irrfan said: “In the second half, my character goes through this complete redemptive graph which has been removed. After brutally interrogating the boy, my character of the police officer personally takes him back to the game show when he gets to know that the boy did it for love. That entire track has been removed. But that’s okay. Roles are often reduced for the betterment of the film.”

“This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Actors must stop being possessive about what they shoot,” Irrfan added.

The versatile actor wasn’t present at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony as he was in Jaipur visiting his mother.

“Of course I was invited. But I had made plans to spend time with my mother from months before. If I missed this chance I’d not have been able to visit her again for a very long time. I’d rather fly kites in my mother’s home than blow kisses in LA (Los Angeles). I’m not new to international events. I’ve been through them with films like ‘The Namesake’, ‘The Warrior’ and ‘A Mighty Heart’.”

Irrfan is now looking forward to the release of the Hindi dubbed version of “Slumdog Millionaire”.

“I’m sure the Hindi version will be liked. It’s the English version I’m apprehensive about. The intelligentsia will ask questions about the hero from the Mumbai slums speaking fluent English. The Hindi viewers will just have a good time. Earlier when my ‘Warrior’ was released abroad critics wondered why the narrative didn’t have a historical perspective.”

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