I've been feeling terrible ever since I saw photographs of Azhar, one of the younger actors in Slumdog, being smacked around by his father (via Solilo's blog). Then this morning I found that Amrita had written about this as well and her thoughts echoed many of mine. Her wonderfully thorough, analytical post is definitely worth a read.
Lesson Every Poor Must Learn: bitching about white filmmaker establishing trust funds for your kid, okay; disciplining your kid the way you’ve always disciplined him, big no-no!
Out went the old, poverty-stricken, living in a shack, Azhar’s TB-ridden dad who needs justice now - in came horrible, physically abusive, illiterate, Muslim, third-world Azhar’s dad who wants to make a fast buck off his little kid because he’s too lazy to go out there and get a job for himself.
Far be it from me to shield a man who beats his child, but maybe the lesson to be learned from this is to leave the kids alone. They’ve had a rollercoaster ride of it, they’ve seen things and experienced events that most kids their age, whatever their family’s circumstances, would never undergo in a million years, and now they’ve got to get back to life as it’s usually lived.
There are people who think taking kids like Azhar and Rubina to L.A. was a cruel thing to do, exposing them to a world so far removed from their own, one that they have very little hope of touching ever again - I think it was a wonderful thing to do.
The whole thing here.