They’ve started calling Indians ’slumdogs’: Composer Aadesh Srivastava

February 20th, 2009 - 9:19 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Bollywood composer Aadesh Srivastava says he is embarrassed to walk on the streets of the US after Oscar-nominated “Slumdog Millionaire” because “they have started calling Indians slumdogs”.

“I’m so upset. They’ve started calling Indians ’slumdogs’, just like ‘coolie’ was a ’slang’ in Britain. Now in the US I feel slumdog is a ‘gaali’ (slang) for Indians. Mumbai has given me everything,” Srivastava told IANS.

“To see the city being shown as a place of dirt, filth and crime only is very humiliating. Even I can make a film on child prostitution and paedophilia. But it won’t get Oscars because I am not a ‘gora’ (white),” added the composer.

Based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s novel “Q & A”, “Slumdog Millionaire” is about an impoverished teaboy who wins a quiz show. Directed by British director Danny Boyle, the story is set in the slums of Mumbai. While Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto and NRI Dev Patel played main leads, A.R. Rahman composed the music for the movie. It has got 10 Oscar nominations, out of which three are for Rahman.

The film was lauded in the West, but it has been criticised by some in India for showing its ugly side by concentrating on grinding poverty.

“What right does the director have to show Mumbai as a slum? Now we are considered a slum city in all parts of the world. Humlog kahin mooh dikhane laayak nahin rahe (we’re unable to show our face anywhere),” said Srivastava, who watched the movie in Los Angeles this week.

Srivastava applauds fellow composer Rahman’s music in the movie, but says he’d never be part of a film that makes India look like a slum.

“I’m so upset. It’s a disgusting movie. Being an Indian it was doubly humiliating to be watching the film with Americans. Even if Steven Spielberg asked me to compose music for a film that makes fun of India, I won’t do it,” he said.

Being a diehard Amitabh Bachchan fan, Srivastava is appalled by the way the Big B is shown in the film.

“I puked when I saw that kid smeared in shit asking for Bachchan saab’s autograph. What the f…k was that? Does Danny Boyle know what Bachchan saab means to us Indians? Who would dare approach him like that?

“We applaud people who come to our city and spit in our faces!” he said.

Srivastava has composed hits like “Chali chali”, “Suno na suno na” and “Say shava shava”.

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