This was a reality that we have glossed over or literally passed by multiple times, or seen through tinted filters in typical potboilers. It is not a tale that happened 100 years ago in a distant land -ala lagaan or Australia or a story of poverty or dejection or loss - ala several Satyajit ray movies. It is a contemporary story of love, of hope and of triumph set in mumbai. Lets not get overly defensive about the kind of India that it portrays. This underbelly exists for everybody to see, every single day. And if a western director uses this as his canvas, we only need to salute his vision rather than support conspiracy theories by the likes of Arindam Chaudhary or Amitabh Bachhan before his u turn. Those who are so damn concerned, should help change lives of even one slum child. If reality is altered or refined, films would follow suit.
There has been some criticism that this movie is not Indian. Believe me, if this movie is not indian, nothing can be. It is just that, it is not directed or produced by our Chopras, Johars or Kapoors and thats not good news for them. There are no love ballads, no item songs and no romance in the "bollywood way" we know. But the formula of lost and found, and of everlasting love and the bollywood spirit is intact.
There isn't a character or setting or dialogue in the movie that we cant relate to or that doesnt move you or stay with you. That is a huge accomplishment for any kind of cinema.To me, Slumdog is also a celebration of indian talent - the sound editor the slum kids, Freida Pinto, dev Patel, several others in cameo appearances, the mumbai setting, dialogues and the Rahman music. His background score, as usual (do forget Ghajini though) is outstanding. Its difficult to fathom whether the impact wd have been as high with a less than perfect score.
Whether this movie and specifically Rahman win the oscars is of academic interest. What matters is that they have done a great job. I loved "O-saya" and the way it contributes to the film. "Jai Ho" though not an integral part , helps complete the experience. My personal vote wd go to "O Saya" anyday. The western audiences might find the latter refreshing, though. Personally wd hate to see Rahman, or Freida or the sound editor getting confined to narrow regional tags about being from Chennai or Mumbai or Kerala. They are India's best - and available to the world.
Slum dog as a name is something that many people have taken offence to. I agree it is not part of us to talk derogatorily about other people in general. Calling slumkids -Lions wd perhaps be more appropriate!