Monday, March 02, 2009

Slumdog kids return home to life as usual

But what did we expect? Did we really expect their lives to be changed? For good or for worse? Are they worse off for having caught a glimpse, however fleeting, of the Other Side?

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.


Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes looking at that poor boy crying. Poverty and ignorance go hand-in-hand.
It's a daily struggle for these people. The father was trying to cash-in on the new found fame of his child, which i think is not so bad because for them it's the question of survival. But , that does not justify in any way the beatings gotten by the child from his father. But then, what would you expect out of a muslim father who goes on to procreate till the end of his life and is too poor to provide for them and take care of them? It's a deep rooted religious, political, socio-economic issue we are dealing here with.
All i hope is that the child is given positive media attention and bollywood gives him a chance to survive and make it through all adversities just like in SdM.

Kavi said...

Filmdom is fleeting. Fame is fleeting too. Reality stays and sticks.

One can only hope for some difference...sometime.

Anonymous said...

It's a tricky situation, I think... Say for instance, the education of the kids in the movie was sponsored and they even are given all kinds of help, like vocational guidance, what about the kids who somehow didn't make it to the movie? There're millions of them in Dharavi. How do we go about or shun the process of selective differentiation?

Nino's Mum said...

My heart goes out to both the father and Azhar. This hasn't been easy to either of them - not that I'm condoning what the father has done.

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Lak, heart-rending, isn't it? I'm not sure it's limited to a particular religion, though. It's more to do with the socio-economic factors, as you've pointed out. More childrena are seen as more hands to help around the house. It's a vicious cycle. :(

@ Kavi, I'm hoping too. That all this hoopla leads to a better life for at least some.

@ N'ville Mom, I think something is better than nothing. One child at a time is enough for me.

@ Nino's Mum, I feel exactly the same way you do. Neither of them has the wherewithal to process what just hit them.

Anonymous said...

That's really sad. I sure hope Azhar's father changes his ways and I hope and pray that Azhar will have a better life than he has now.