And so the debate rages on... should the world be exposed to Mumbai's sores and sewers... or should we keep up the bombardment of Bambaiya ishstyle entertainment - the kind Bollywood espouses? I have very mixed feelings on the subject. Bollywood is a 'nasha' - a narcotic. It is meant to intoxicate and create delusions. The only serious objection such an approach poses is that countless uneducated folk start believing what they see - they assume Mumbai is exactly the way a commercial film maker projects it - garish, loud, full of gorgeous looking young people singing and dancing in the streets and becoming crorepatis overnight. According to recent statistics over 3000 people from all over India come to Mumbai daily.... and never leave. Most are sold a version of the city via Bollywood masala films. The harsh realities hit them later. By then it is too late. There is no going back. Jobless and frustrated, they turn to petty crime in order to survive. And from petty crime to major criminal activity is but a small step away. These guys cannot distinguish between Bollywood's absurd representation of life in the Big Mango. They don't know this is the ultimate escapist dream designed to dull the senses. They get sucked into a dangerous world...and their own lives spiral out of control.
Detractors of 'Slumdog...' maybe nervous that the film's success will cut into this dream factory and Bollywood may decide to reinvent itself, rethink the old formula.... then what?? For those who have fed on this formula, such a shift spells trouble - big trouble. They are least concerned about larger social issues or implications. If their constituency gets shaken, their earnings and star power drops automatically. Which explains the stiff resistance being put up to 'Slumdog.....' by big names from Bollywood. Those who argue the world should applaud our illogical, crazy commercial cinema with its gloss and humbug intact. We love those films because we know they are nonsensical and far removed from us. But try saying that to a 16-year-old school dropout from Lucknow\Kanpur\Allahabad.... he wants to be in the movies. He wants it bad.Bollywood is it!! And to such a person, the Bollywood ka Sapna is as real as Koena's plastic nose or Rakhi Sawant's implants. No sir.... 'Slumdog..." is difficult .... too difficult to digest. Like truth itself.