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The Editor
The Times of India

India is Branded now

I refer the article of Paul Temporal "It’s time for India to Brand itself” (STOI 22 Feb). While thanking Mr. Paul for the valuable tips for projecting India as Industrial Giant , immune to global recession, now there is no need for it as the entire world, including Indian government and media at large has accepted the "SLUMGDOG MILLIONAIRE” as brand India after the film bagged eight Oscar awards in different categories. The world has now officially recognized India as a land of slums, shit, depravity, poverty, where the children and adults steal, foreign tourists are cheated, mafia, begging racket and slums thrive, the underdogs become millionaires not thru’ grit, education or merit but by modern gambling called reality game shows which give wrong wining answers to the question (Darshan do Ghanshyam Nath”---song was written by poet Gopalsingh Nepali and by Surdas, as the game show said).

When the original secular character (Ram Mohammad Thomas) is changed to a pure religious name of a Muslim, it becomes easier for the script writer to brand India where the Muslims get killed / burnt in communal riots by Hindu fanatics and it deserves Oscar.

Tragically, this is lapped as “Unprecedented Honor” for India by the Government and media. Thus even if we now try hard to create “brand India" thru’ our positive Industrial and Economic progress, we will fail to do so after India is offered as the brand “Slumdog” with generous Oscar honors and worldwide accolades.

Mohan Siroya


Above being the letter to the newspaper, it was in brief and to the point. But on the site I would like to add little more elaborately.

Film “Slumdog Millionaire” having swept the 2009 OSCARS (ACADEMY AWARDS) by bagging eight out of thirteen nominated categories as the best of 2008, I fail to understand why the Government or the media, especially the electronics, are bracketing this as if India has won the BHARAT RATNA AWARD AS A NATION, in International arena.

Can the film SDM be called an Indian film or a product of India, Indian brains or Indian reality of today? It is produced by British / Americans, adapted and directed in Indian terrain by foreigners. The only Indian contribution in it is of Music, Lyrics and sound Mixing besides, the child or adult actors. The product, in no way shows the today’s real India, which, inspite of the disastrous global meltdown, has been rated as the second biggest growing economy in the world after China. It has had very little impact of the recession because of its strong industrial and technological base. The film completely fails to show that but with umpteen twists and cinematic liberties, put India as the worst underbelly nation in the world with a fantasy and melodrama created with Indian characters.

Yes, we are proud that two (Or is it three with Gulzar- but he is not personally given the award, Rahman received it for the best original music score and for best Song, mind not “Lyric” “Jai Ho”) Oscars have been conferred on our genius music maestro A R Rahman and one on our own Sound Engineer (FTII Pune product) Resul Pookutty. Only these geniuses are the Indian heroes, and Indian nation or the media must get proud of them. None of the fabulous child artists or the grown up Indian actors in this film has received a single award.? But why of the film, its writer or the director are eulogized as geniuses and an honor of India? How India is concerned with them.

One documentary made in India with a real Indian kid actor “Pinky” has been honored with an Oscar but our Indian nation or media is discreetly silent about that honor. Why? Just because there is no media or PR hype for it?

In past, when the lone Indian individual Bhanu Atthiyya, had won the coveted Oscar on merit so far (for Best costume Designer for our own India produced film “Gandhi”) and when the all time great Indian film maker Satyajit Ray was awarded an HONORARY OSCAR FOR HIS LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENTS; India, media or we Indians never celebrated or went Ga Ga over those well deserved Indian victories. Why this time only, we as a nation, instead of merely celebrating the individual victories of Rahman and Resul, are going out of our way to dwell in the reflected glory of foreigners, who created a “Slum brand” of India, projected India and Indians in bad light?


Written by: 

Mohan Siroya


dear all, simply, I cannot stop from writing today. The scene about the boy coming above from shit hole.. He has seen as a shit piece of a sees, what one sees. What I have seen in that scene ... Here is a boy, who, born in such filth, does not lack in his whims and fancies.. He wants and wishes for an autograph of his fav. movie idol and no one can stop him from catching hold of it.. So he sinks into -----, and emerge from it.. Here the boy"s character is established, not only a boy from English speaking LKG_UKG school, but a boy from slums can also wish for his dream idols autograph. He achieves this, with such determination.. that is the scene.. director"s intentions.. and landing in Agra, it shows, Boys from slums have no tickets, no boundaries, India is so large, they travel miles and on trains to land anywhere..where the trains take them.. Did we not see, chai vending boys travelling in trains from one end to another end? History, they did not learn in any schools, so they used their imagination. And talking about hard working, earning millions.. KBC is an authentic show on popular TV, where pupils, people from best backgrounds, pour over books, take classes and enter into this show to get instant popularity, fame and lots of money.. there is nothing wrong in it.. Only, when a chai wala, as uttered by the anchor aims for it, it became lazy, crazy thing to do. But our jamal, is already working in a call center, and being street smart, he picked all the nuances of English language and he used every opportunity to reach his latika, but not to deceit anyone.. It did not show call centers in any bad light, it is any working place.. His aim is to reach latika, not to earn krores, but in that process, he achieves that too. As in any movie story, lucky is the hero. Director did not say that, hero did not know Gandhiji, but he had not seen a thousand rupee note. we are overly sensitive to see red in any innocent thing.. and about police.. police picked him on the complaint of anchor , that jamal may be deceiving them, by wiring himself or inserting some remote things.. in his ----. so he is searched and questioned in the police way to get the truth.. On this note, the movie starts unfolding.. as the police question him in the usual good cop, bad cop way, the hero starts telling the story to good cop. Even the hero is unsure of his luck, how he has answered all the Qs correct.. so he is reliving them and sharing them out to some one near him.. the good cop.. The neat editing, racing script, the evil way, one brother has chosen, the good, the hero has chosen, the conflict, the acceptance of reality, but wanting for more, dare to dream.. these are all the ingredients of this movie.. So please folks, come to reality and accept that India is great.. but some things we have to accept and shd. not be critical of them who say so. enough of defending this movie.. we accept it or not, Academy has accepted it, that makes it.. Try to make an Indian, glorifying movie acceptable for Academy, next year.. or keep trying to make good movies.. good luck.. vasanta.

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