Another Danny Boyle, another gutter movie, another poverty porn, another set up for Oscars at the cost of Hindus and India, another cause of rejoicement for gullible Indians, another ‘Jai ho’.

Here are some excerpts from reviews of the book – imagine the scope of changes possible ‘for the sake of making a movie’ after the emboldening success of ‘Slumdog’

  • “Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found is much more than a travel book, it is an autopsy of a city that is morally dead..…… Mehta conducts a brilliant examination by exhuming the underworld dons, street thugs, policemen, politicians, judges, movie stars and bar girls of this city..” — The Globe and Mail
  • Investigating the city’s bloody 1992-1993 riots, he meets Hindus who massacred Muslims, and their leader, the notorious Godfather-like founder of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray, “the one man most directly responsible for ruining the city I grew up in.” Daring to explore further the violent world of warring Hindu and Muslim gangs, Mehta travels into the city’s labyrinthine criminal underworld with tough top cop Ajay Lal, developing an uneasy familiarity with hit men who display no remorse for their crimes. Mehta likewise deploys a gritty documentary style when he investigates Bombay’s sex industry, profiling an alluring, doomed dancing girl and a cross-dressing male dancer who leads a strange double life. Mehta includes so-called “Bollywood” in his sweeping account of Bombay’s subcultures: he hilariously recounts, in diary style, day-to-day life on the set among the aging male stars of the action movie Mission Kashmir. Mehta, winner of a Whiting Award and an O. Henry Prize, is a gifted stylist. His sophisticated voice conveys postmodern Bombay with a carefully calibrated balance of wit and outrage, harking back to such great Victorian urban chroniclers as Dickens and Mayhew while introducing the reader to much that is truly new and strange. Agent, Faith Childs Literary Agency. (Sept. 26)— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
  • “Suketu Mehta tells the stories of slum-dwellers, dancing girls, hitmen and poets, all of whom have come to Bombay to make it…..” — The Economist
  • Like a mind-blowing, real-life trip through the streets of Bombay, many thousands of images of beggars, slums, palaces, film stars, murderers, cops and lovers rush forward from the pages of this book, as if competing for a high rupee-yielding prize.” —Sydney Morning Herald
  • It is about the maddeningly interesting metropolis of Bombay (or Mumbai, as Hindu political purists insist)……” —The Houston Chronicle
  • The book’s focus on the city’s dark side, where money, sex, showbusiness and crime meet, mingle and part, has a purpose…..” — The Independent
  • “Hobnobbing with professional killers, cops on the edge, bar girls, street poets and Bollywood directors, Mehta paints an intimate portrait of what many consider the city of the future.” — The Sacramento Bee
  • He examines the city in unusual ways — looking at the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; a bar dancer who chose the only life available to her after a childhood of poverty; delving into the stories of people who leave the villages for life in the city…..— Deseret Morning News


Danny Boyle to produce a thriller on Mumbai night life

Agencies Posted online: Wednesday, Jun 03, 2009 at 1533 hrs

London : After making it big at the Oscars with the life of a Mumbai slum dweller who becomes a millionaire, director Danny Boyle is planning to make yet another film on the tinsel city of India, this time a thriller based on its night life.While Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire was inspired by Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s book ‘Q&A’, the forthcoming thriller will be based on the novel ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found’ by Suketu Mehta, an Indian-born journalist and author based in New York.

According to a report in The Times, Boyle has bought the rights of the critically acclaimed novel, which was first published in 2004.

Partly a travelogue and partly an autobiography, the book delves into the interconnected worlds of Mumbai’s slum-dwellers, dancing girls, underworld dons and Hindu radicals.

The non-fiction work has been likened to everything from Balzac’s descriptions of Paris to The Arabian Nights.

Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars and grossed over 220 million pounds at the box office


A welcome gesture from the man who (along with Naseeruddin Shah) once abhored the term ‘Bollywood’ as a copycat of Hollywood, is proud of Indian film Industry with or without the west’s certificate, and rubbished Slumdog Millionaire, as projecting India as a third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation.

Incidentally this is what Naseeruddin Shah commented on Slumdog Millionaire, ” I wouldn’t see it a second time and I don’t think that it was the best film of the year…….I mean what’s wrong with us? We are celebrating it as if we have made it, as if we are responsible for it, as if we financed it, as if we made the film possible. We are all behaving in that way. Everybody knows it’s not an Indian film, it’s not been made by an Indian, it never occurred to an Indian to make Slumdog Millionaire, it never occurred to an Indian to make Gandhi either for that matter, but we ran to lap up the accolades when they started coming.


Bachchan turns down Australian doctorate

May 30, 2009
Actor Amitabh Bachchan  has reacted to racial attacks on Indian students in Australia  by rejecting an honourary doctorate offered to him by an Australian university.

The Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane , had offered the 66-year-old veteran a doctorate for his contribution to the world of entertainment and Bachchan had earlier accepted the title.

The honour was to be conferred on the star in July as a part of celebrations to commemorate a retrospective of his films in the city.

“I have been witnessing, with great dismay and shock, the recent violent attacks on Indian students in Australia, on the electronic media the entire day,” Bachchan wrote on his blog.

“I mean no disrespect to the institution that honours me, but under the present circumstances, where citizens of my own country are subjected to such acts of inhuman horror, my conscience does not permit me to accept this decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity to my fellow countrymen,” he added.

Australia has recently seen a series of attacks on Indian students, the most serious being the assault of Shravan Kumar, a 25-year-old student from Andhra Pradesh, who is battling for life in a Melbourne  hospital after being stabbed by a screwdriver by a group of teens.

After American talk show host Rush Limbaugh called Indian doing outsourced jobs as ‘slumdogs’, it is the turn of the Indian ‘elite’ English Newspaper, The Times of India, to address, quite unnecessarily in my opinion, children of Indian slums by the derogatory term. Basically exposes the mental poverty of our English language media.


Slumdogs get chance to learn

18 Apr 2009, 2256 hrs IST, TNN

MYSORE: If child artiste of Slumdog Millionaire walked the red carpet with perfect elan, children of slums here have a reason to rejoice. This summer vacation, they need not go for work, instead attend a summer camp organized exclusively for them.

Apart from craft lessons, children from slums of Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajnagar districts will be given lessons on child rights, personality development, environment protection, solid waste management.

The activities are part of the 30-day summer camp organized by the Rural Literacy and Health Programme, an NGO.

Says NGO education coordinator H A Chandru: “The objective is to bring out the talent of slum children by providing them a suitable forum. There will be interaction with the children to assess their creativity. It is common among slum dwellers to send children to work during vacation. If their children are kept engaged with other activities during holidays, the residents will avoid sending children to work,” he claimed.

Over 2,000 children have been selected from 50 different slums in three districts. The NGO has trained the volunteers in activities. The camp will be held in two groups– students below 10 years and below 15 years.

RLHP assistant director Saraswathi told The Times of India: “Slum children rarely get opportunity to showcase their talent. Such camps will be useful to unfold their creativity. The camp activities will conclude on May 20. A children mela has been planned to facilitate participants to showcase their talents on the last day.”