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“Slumdog Millionaire” — or “Slumdog Crorepati,” as the Hindi-language version is known — received 10 Oscar nominations and has become the modern-day fairy tale of the year in multiplexes across America. Amid the film’s U.S. box-office success — it had grossed almost $60 million by last weekend — comes ever-rising scrutiny within India of Boyle and the film’s distributors, who find themselves fending off criticism. They are accused of not having done enough to compensate some of the younger Indian actors and extras who worked on the film, and have been called peddlers of the country’s poverty.
Update: A reader sends this note:
Actor compensation notwithstanding, the argument that he is “peddling the country’s poverty” is asinine. Those complaining about Slumdog should be far more offended by other recent films like Darjeeling Limited that hopelessly exoticize Indian culture. On the contrary, the Slumdog is adapted from a novel written by an Indian, and Boyle values the Indian perspective rather than examining India through a Western lens. If the depiction of squalor is grounds for protest, the Scots should be up in arms over Boyle’s far grimmer portrayal of Edinburgh.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Percentage of non-Christian Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of Christ:
A newly translated Coptic text alleged Judas’ kiss to have been necessitated by Jesus’ ability to shape-shift.
Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”
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Science’s crisis of faith