Slum dweller finds ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ title abusive, sues

January 21st, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 21 (IANS) A man, who claims to fight for the rights of slum dwellers, has taken the Indian artistes of the acclaimed film “Slumdog Millionaire” to court, contending that their sensibilities have been offended by the movie title that he found abusive of people who live in slums. The case was registered by the chief judicial magistrate Tuesday against the movie’s music director A.R. Rahman, actor Anil Kapoor and other Indians associated with the film that has won four Golden Globe awards, including the first Golden Globe for an Indian, music director Rahman.

The first hearing of the petition is scheduled Feb 5.

Petitioner Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, general secretary of the Jhuggi Jhonpdi Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti (a group promoting the rights of slum dwellers), has charged those associated with the film of abusing slum dwellers in the name of entertainment just to earn money and fame.

“Vishwakarma requested the court to protect the honour and respect of millions of slum dwellers across India,” his lawyer Shruti Singh said.

No charge, however, was filed against the film’s director Danny Boyle, who is a British citizen.

“Vishwakarma made it clear that he hardly expected anything positive from a British filmmaker as their ancestors described us as dogs. But what hurt him was that even Indians associated with the film hardly bothered to object to calling us a slumdog,” Shruti Singh said.

The name “is against the basic human values”, she said.

A copy of the petition has been sent to the National Human Rights Commission, Bihar State Human Rights Commission and the film Censor Board of the central government.

“I requested Censor Board chairperson Sharmila Tagore not to permit the release of the film in India under its present name,” Shruti Singh added. The film is slated for release in India Jan 23.

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