Monday, November 2, 2009

The buck stops here for Boyle's 'Slumdog' kids...

The business of being ‘slumdogs’….

No more money for Rubina. No car for Azhar. Danny Boyle has spoken. This time, it is final. He is not open to further negotiations. And the two slumdog kids can take a walk.
‘Danny Uncle’ has made it clear that his settlement terms are linked to the kids attending school on a regular basis – bunking classes (as Rubina and Azhar have been doing) means giving up the extra dosh. All this is sound, sensible stuff, coming from a person who has been pretty fair and generous. The scarey part is how such young children are being tutored to ask for more… and more. Assuming it is their greedy family members briefing them to make unreasonable demands and extort as much as they can from Danny, what sort of a nasty effect will such a venal attitude have on the bachchas later? Their lives have been touched and transformed in ways that are complex and daunting. For better or worse, they will never ever be able to adjust to their old, shabby existence of drudgery and abject poverty. But that still does not mean Danny owes them anything more than has been offered. A 25 lakhs flat for Rubina is, by any standards, a pretty good deal. But now her family has upped the demand to a 40 lakhs apartment. Tomorrow they could ask for 1 crore. Where does it stop? Azhar insists he wants a ‘small car’ because he is suddenly ‘scared’ to travel by auto rickshaw! This is not about whether Danny can afford to finance these fresh demands. It is about greed and exploitation. Such a pity that the children are being dragged through this unfortunate mess. Well…. the buck stops here, says Boyle. Go back to school, say his trustees. Or risk losing the promised bonanza. My guess is that the families of the kids will try their best to squeeze every extra rupee out of the two golden geese – education be damned. In which case, they’ll end up losing it all – the money, home or the chance to work with Boyle again.
I must pump Arjun Rampal’s hand the next time I meet him. By speaking up about the fiasco at Rohit Bal’s fashion show in Delhi, he has opened a can of worms. About time someone had the guts to point out just how hideously commercial the fashion scenario has become of late. This whole business of getting Bollywood showstoppers initially started as a gimmick. Designers who had a good relationship with star clients, got their buddies to walk the ramp for them, knowing their presence would generate great press. This progressed to the stars plugging their favourite designers and getting them hired for their movies. What followed was minor and major stars asking for big , fat fees to walk. Sensing the potential of such an arrangement, everybody jumped into the fray. The publicity generated was worth the money spent. Stars realized very quickly that by strutting across the catwalk for two minutes, they could pocket a cool 30 lakhs or more AND make it to the front pages of most dailies, plus hog tv prime time, too. Soon fat cat producers bought into the game and started to use this platform for promoting their forthcoming films. Big money was offered to designers\sponsors to hire a star jodi and derive extra mileage for an unreleased film. This cosy arrangement was working well - till Arjun broke the bhanda, after he and Dino were unceremoniously dumped at the last minute, with Katrina and Ranbir hotstepping it, instead. We are also equally sick of seeing Bollywood stars on the covers of fashion magazines , which somehow make them look ridiculous and unattractive by styling them in an exaggerated way that strips them of their personality completely. Editors claim they are helpless – issues featuring movie stars outsell issues featuring professional models, ten to one! Maybe. But frankly, if readers want to see Bollywood stars on the covers of glossies, they can pick up any one of the countless fanzines. It really is time for fashion to reclaim fashion. And do so on its own terms.
Oh dear, Oh dear.... I fear I made myself MOST unpopular with a group of high school and college students who were running a mock United Nations event at Jaihind College. I bet they wished they'd never invited me! Well.... they had.... so there I was at their concluding function at which prizes were to be given and speeches made. Since I'd been told about their newsletter called 'The Ugly Truth', I asked for copies . Big mistake!! Had someone informed me it was not a newsletter per se, but an irreverent, daily scandal sheet meant strictly for the delegates, I would have saved my fire. But the kind of cheap comments and blatantly sexist remarks I read, made me see red.... and blue.... and purple. I let fly.... especially since most of the cracks were aimed at a guy called Bucky. He was mercilessly mocked for being gay or 'swinging both ways'! I flew to the defence of Bucky....gays the world over, and was frothing at the mouth, berating the editors for being homophobic etc. Guess what?? Right after I'd finished my tongue lashing, some 'delegates' came upto me to say it was really okay to crack those jokes, and that Bucky LOVED the attention. Ooooops! One guy explained in all seriousness, " Gays are totally cool with it. It's like Blacks in America calling one another 'nigger'. It's just a joke - no offence."
I want to ask you blogdosts out there if this is really so ????? Did I miss something??????????


Alex Engwete said...

Yeah, blacks in America call one another nigger, as you say, but God forbid a white person would call them that, even without any racist intent: they scream racism! Not being a fakir for reading people's minds (do fakirs do that too?), you had no way of knowing Bucky was "totally cool with it"... So good for you for raising hell!

Ritwik D said...

Yes, I think you missed a BIG point here Shobhaa, and that is of the whole publishing (read:journalism and reporting) is being sucked into a black hole of commercialization of news and the whole era of "breaking news" marketing. And the seeds of irresponsible reporting or writing are being sown in magazines such as the ones at Jai Hind college.

Arti said...

While it maybe an inside joke to mock the gay guy, for people not in on the joke it might seem like homophobia is totally cool.
There's a reason there is political correctness.

Pooja! said...

just shows how insensitive and superficial we have become as a society!

Pratap said...

Shobha - you were right in seeing red, blue and purple.
One black guy can call another brother or nigger but if I did that I would get the daylights beaten out of me.
Or for that matter, using a casteist/religious epithet in India!

Even if Bucky didn't mind the homophobic jokes, it was surely in bad taste - especially when its done in a mock UN.

anupamaa said...

Point 1: Slumdog kids have just proved that Beggars ( No offense) CAN be choosers. When a person earning 50000 RS a month buys a 25 lakh house and repays the loan for 20 years, these families ahould eb grateful for just having a non-leaking roof over their heads.

Point 2: I fully agree. Bollywood is all over the place right from Cricket to Fashion shows. Maybe it is high time to cool off, but it is the media needs to be less starstruck and not the common readers/viewers. Deaddict the viewrs from Bollywood.

Point 3: Everyone has the right to opinion. Just like religion, politics and other sentiments, h-phobia is another sentiment. Some people agree and some dont. As long as there is no violence, let people form their own opinions.
Blog whoring again :
I am not h-phobic, but have strong opinions.

Theyoginme said...


Firstly on the slumdog kids. It is not entirely surprising that the kids are being used as pawns and empowered by their families for financial and other gains. It happens to families of all classes even here in the US ( not sure if you remember McCauly Caulkin) and of course here in the US its rampant abuse by custodial parents of divorced families that abuse their custodial power and use their children as pawns to get back at the non custodial spouses.

On the fashion front, sounds like movie stars in India have more or less lost their class in favor of the mighty rupiya!. I remember my parents talking about classy stars like Nargis Dutt, Madhubala, Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari... in a completely different light. Its more about the image and how much you can hoard and less about the art. Bollywood looks like Shallowood.

I didnt fully catch the last part. Were these high school kids from America? This is a hard one. I think the younger generation (and this too depends on where you are from as in the deep south subtract 20 years) is much more acceptable of class, creed, color and I guess sexual preference.

I think sexual pref. still carries a stigma and "faggot" is the equivalent of nigger as a derogatory remark and starts early in teenagers. I know that blacks will call each other nigger in a comedic sense, but its not wide spread. A lot of comics use it... but not having exposed much to black and gay friends I cannot say that derogatory writing or name calling is acceptable in close circles of those groups either.

I would have reacted the same way as you did if I saw something scandalous of that nature. Thats freedom of expression gone too far. If this was being circulated in a school in the US, it would be fodder for a lawsuit. Freedom of expression is a funny thing here.. there are laws to protect defamation and civil, but then you have comedians, some press and media, talk show hosts, that will abuse it with the most filthy and abusive language you can ever imagine. Its a contradiction...

Perhaps these delegates should have spoken to you first before handing you that material :)

Unknown said...

Money spoils even the biggest of saints....greed has no end!! Danny Boyle should have best agreed to provide with the money once the kids finish their education.

Peter Williams Amalraj said...

Dear Shobha Ma'am,

First of all i would suggest that it would be better if you demarcate your posts with a different topic instead of a series of '*********************'..

Well.. from this i got the comment for your post regarding Fashion shows and magazine covers.. i'm sorry and infact hate to do this kind of pin pointing but didn't you yourself missed-out to prioritise the issues discussed in this post based on their sensitivity ??.. But the topic for the post reads "Buck stops here for the Boyle's Slumdog kids"..just like this, for the magazines too, it's the money which matters.. at the end of the day everything boils to revenue..

Regarding the Slumdog kids, at present we could only empathise on this poor kids who are dragged into this by the greediness of their family members..

Regarding the Gay bashing jokes, I guess people should educate themselves to understand that it's a natural phenomenon in certain humans to get attracted to the same sex. I admit i used to be a homophobic once as i thought it would be a threat to societal values, but after reading about 'same sex attraction' which is also among animals, i understood that it's something the individuals cannot be blamed for... Afterall man is a social animal... As long as the relationship is consensual there's no point in bashing.. Hope people are educated enough to understand this...

Rae said...

I agree that these homophobic comments and jokes should not be tolerated. Students participating in a mock UN are presumably top students, future leaders, etc. They need to learn now, since they clearly have not been taught already, that just because "Bucky" says he likes the attention, that doesn't mean it's O.K.

Will they assume that all gay people are like Bucky and they can always make these sorts of remarks? Also, sadly, in situations like these, there is always a seed of malice behind the joke and a seed of shame and hurt behind Bucky's laughing face.

I must also say that I find it interesting that you felt so righteous in scolding them when, in this very blog, you have made snide remarks implying that certain public figures are gay. Trying to "out" someone in that manner or using potential homosexuality as an insult is just as bad as what these students did. So, we should all take a look at ourselves and what we consider acceptable because it might not be.

Sameer said...

As a gay person myself I cannot believe this happened in one of the highschools in India. I do not think homophobia and gay bashing is ever classified as "cool" or in a " joking way". I think your reaction was very much valid and I don't care if Bucky is ok or not with this nonsense he does not represent the gay community. Such joking remarks get transformed into gay bashing and attacks on gays.

One of your reader Anupama says she is not homophobic but she can not see the liplock of 2 gay guys. Well Anupama I have a news for you. I am not heterophobic but I just can't watch Imraan Hashmi in a liplock with our Sherawat mam. It's disgusting and horrifying. Tell me what should I do. I ahve been sucking up this torture forever so you also better get used to it. I am just so tired of these educated hypocrites who call themselves broadminded and all but can not tolerate 2 guys holding hands or kissing openly. Let's test our open minded meter Anupama, shall we?

Alex Engwete said...

@ Peter Williams Amalraj:
I like the line of demarcation ********************
Plus, would it be appropriate to tell the hostess out of the blue to rearrange the decor in her TV den this way or that way? I don't think so!... And if you did, you won't be invited next week for the DVD viewing of Slumdog Millionaire...

Gone Girl said...

Dear Shobhaa,

Bucky has no choice but being "cool" about it. He obviously can't single handedly fight it out like the Bollywood protagonists do. Its a REAL world and Bucky has to watch out before raising his voice,finger or hand against all those who are 'united' in cracking jokes & mocking at him! All the hue and cry about GAY RIGHTS has done only a little difference to the big picture.

As for the Bollywood presence being felt locally and globally, it shall reach the saturation point someday. People being overfed with 'Bollywood feed' will choke on it someday for sure!

As for Rubina & Azhar, the kids lost a quarter of their innocence after they hogged the limelight.Another quarter due to the Indian media that hyped things up.Third quarter is endangered due to their families that are teaching them all about GREED...There is very little innocence that remains untouched. Whether that will be untouched or no only time can tell!

Harish said...

enuff of this slumdog drama, rather than focusing on these two kids and their laalchi parents, we should focus our heads and minds on the Ugly Truth that Boyle had the balls to unearth. Something that our own bollywood very incompetently depicted.

It all boils down to the fact that Boyle doesnt morally owe anything to the kids more than a pay cheque for their role. And what a shame to india, their laalchiness is making world news. Shameful. Disgusting. Huh!!!


Ramphal is no sitafal ka beej that you can throwaway get some juice with the rest on stage. Good that he made his displeasure heard.

I hate watching Bollywood Duncles (dude uncles)and Buntys (babe aunty) on stage. They should rather focus on their art and craft...

These days models dont grow into actors, they feel its their janam siddh adhikaar to enjoy both worlds.

Gay @ jaihind

Thanks for standing up against sexist comments. Yet Again. Hugs.

I seriously wouldnt mind a joke on gays. we have jokes on madarasis, sardars, parsis, sindhis etc. and so with gays. Mostly, the more we try to reason with them, we tend to encourage more gay bashing. But yes, there is some where that we need to draw a line. I have been a victim of homophobia in college, i have had grafitti pasted in all walls of my college loo "for gay sex contact Harish". i have had people laughing at me, and shunning me. But then once i got up and spoke for myself, gave my personality an individuality that it much needed. I have NEVER been bullied. Yes, there are usual jokes that are cracked, but the content of the jokes dint matter, because now i know that their intent will not dare be to bully me.

I realize now that everyone loves to bully a bully. When i stopped being a victim!! they stopped being the abuser. There is a sensitization programme that needs to be initiated in schools and colleges on sex and sexuality.

And to answer your question. Gays are definitely NOT COOL with it. But there are some which we choose to ignore.... for if we dont, it will fuel the sexist comments. Bucky might be no issue with it. But in no way is it sensible for any college document to have sexist comments... Not all will read between the lines the way the students of jai hind did.

Nothing against the college, but as a gay person in india, if i was there, i would definitely let them know that they had wronged.

You were right in your "response to the stimuli" type action...

Btw, i have to share something with you... Something that i felt very very very very nice after reading. Naturally! Im your blogdost na... and when my Blogdost gets complimented by my TwitDost it is like "sone pe suhaaga"

read these one after the other.

:) what you did was right! teh best thing about you, is that you are not Gay Friendly or Gay Phobic or whatsoever. I see you as a realist who lives the moment, at the moment. And I respect you for that.

"Loyalty" and "Blind faith" are the refuge of the spineless. You stand erect in your own ground. :)

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

" " Gays are totally cool with it. It's like Blacks in America calling one another 'nigger'. It's just a joke - no offence."
I want to ask you blogdosts out there if this is really so ????? Did I miss something??????????"

Moral of the story: NEVER ENTER UNKNOWN WATERS:)

Unknown said...

The greedy parents of "slum kids" are spoiling the name of India at an International level. They might not have even seen a 500Rs note so closely and now they demand 25 lakhs then later 40 lakhs. F*******


Tired of seeing Bollywood celebs n cricketers everywhere. Recently Anil Kumble walked the ramp for a fashion week. Arre jiska jo kaam hai wahi karo naa


The managing committee must be having bald, ugly and fat uncles. How they would feel if students started addressing them "oye ganjje , hey you mottu come here"?

movies in Chandigarh
movies in Goa

Advaita said...

you did the right thing.... someone may be cool if others call him nasty names.. but this is not just a matter of an individual.. such a thing is not accepted in a civilized society.

Anonymous said...

mam' u are spot on all the 3 issues you raised...i agree with you for a change...

maglomaniac said...

Well well well.
No comments on the slumdogs crap.
Coz it has just become a story of gluttonous greed.
As far as your standing for gays matter I very much agree with you cause given the circumstances I too would have done the same.And I have never seen this taken in a happy mood by gays at least.I very much despised watching Dostana,it was one shit of a movie,showing things in a wrong light which somewhere labels gays as morally wrong.
Even Pritish is going gaga over your speech,and I agree there wud b many more in Jai Hind college and even Bucky.
As far as your take on the fashion industry z concerned I would jst say that it is like the useless Aajtak channel.It shows shit but runs coz ppl want to see it.
Actors are seen as showstoppers in most f d shows coz it is we ppl who want to see them.
An avg ordinary man with not much sense f fashion myt nt wtch a rampwalk on tv but say if it has salman khan in it then that show is sure to catch eyeballs.
And today is the world where anything is done for viewership.
there is no right or wrong coz now they have become relative terms.

i don't find it wrong for actors to walk the ramp till it doesnt become boring.


Nandini Rao said...

I believe at one point, one of the child artists was to be traded by the parents in exchange for money, also neither of the child's parents have a job. They should be booked for child abuse & on the charges of living on the incomes generated by the two kids.
Shame on the authorities for overlooking this & beaming in the glory of their success.

Being able to laugh at oneself is calms the ego within us.
But having to accept exclusiveness as the end result of providing comic relief to a wider, inclusive group sounds a little offensive.

Of course, like someone said, never venture into unknown know..on one of the episodes of 'THE VIEW', a similar topic came up when it was concluded that it was okay for black people to call each other the N word, but not okay for others to do so.

Anonymous said...


i feel Danny Boyle's decession is perfect. riches don't come with one success, they are earned after years of slogging... these kids must go to school and start a normal life again... they are stars, for sure, but not such that they have the right to demand so much...

about the so called newsletter that you came across- people are taking undue advantage of the name of media and journalism these days. today only a handful of journalists seem to be ethical... there are many who are known as journalists and media peolpe but truely speaking they are attention seekers in the name of media... such people are doing injustice to media...

Fantasies of a Lifetime said...

Hi ,

Money just makes you want more , more so when you have been deprived of it! Its just human nature I guess .And Danny Boyle did the right thing ,Getting paid for what you signed up for is definitely a fair deal :)

Considering there are so many new faces in the Bollywood industry , I am not sure if this will ever pass , I guess we will have more models and less "actors" in bollywood. Aren't most industries all about making money anyway ??

I find it hard to believe that anyone would be cool with being publicly mocked.

Unknown said...

i think she not missed anything..
clear notes thanks for the posting...

Work from home India

Unknown said...

No, it was not a joke at all.

The justification provided was of the kind that those who discriminate against others, for any reason, use to mitigate their own sense of guilt.

It is always the same story. Those who are the subject of ridicule are supposed to be 'sporting' and to 'enjoy' it all.

kakaka said...

you would be punched on your faceif you were to cal a black person the N word...they say the n are not even supposed to utter it. and also you are not suppodesed to call gays the f words....F@#$%TS. dont say it..
i cannot believe these kids in India are soo ignorant.

Unknown said...

A truly motivational and life changing book
This book is really a good book which shows us right path. but i read
one more book named "ONE BOOK FOR LIFE SUCCESS" which is truly
motivational and life changing . .The writer has described in Plain English with lot of examples which is easy to understand...For More
Please watch the video