That's in India. And, I am not even sure that's the correct count. These are the people who live by the railroad tracks, under bridges in shacks made of whatever they can find. These are the people who have kids by the dozens, most of whom probably die before reaching a decent age. These are the folks who will never see 3 square meals a day, forget about the proper number of calories and gms of nutrients. So, when this is the true case of almost 300 million people in India, why did so many of my Indian friends not like the movie that showed that honest truth to the world?
Most of the things I have heard are complaints about the movie focusing on the negative images of India. My response is they were true images; nothing was fabricated. That is one side of India. To see the other glamorous, Levi's wearing, Honda driving, Pizza Hut eating side, I can watch any other movie Bollywood puts out. And, then I can also see them singing and dancing in Switzerland suddenly after a scene in a village in Punjab. Where's the reality there? I don't watch movies like Water, Provoked or Slumdog Millionaire to be enchanted by the glitter of Bollywood. And I know 2 of those 3 movies weren't even made in India/by an Indian. But, they are about issues as real to India and Indians as the fact that I noticed a grey hair on my head last weekend.
The awards that the movie won were justified. It competed against other similar and non-similar works of fiction. Whereas it might not be compared to Batman, it can be compared to The Reader which had a background of Nazi Germany. I haven't noticed it yet, but maybe some Germans out there are unhappy about that being showcased at the Oscars as well. I think the awards it won and was nominated for were the ones it deserved. It was obviously not nominated for best actor or actress because that wasn't the strongest point. No one individual in the movie was the best or worst. They all came together to show us the real India and the struggles of a population that is otherwise never really shown, not in all honesty, not in it's naked true glory! Ad, we still had the happy Bollywood ending. Boy gets girl, boy gets money, evil hoodlum dies.
In the end, I'd like to ask my friends, why is it so bad to show the rest of the world the ugly side of our country? Would we rather lie to them andhave them be shocked if they ever came to visit? Or, would we rather lay it out for everyone to see and maybe force some change to happen inside us and inside our nation? This question goes beyond the poverty issues, it goes to women's issues, it goes to religious issues, it goes to mental health issues, it goes to any existing issue that people would rather hide away than face it head on.