“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.