Slumdog director Danny Boyle tries & fails to explain unfair children’s wages

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Danny Boyle isn’t making Slumdog Millionaire’s myriad controversies any better. First came the Indian protests over the portrayl of Mumbai’s slums and the use of the word “dog” to describe slum-dwellers. On the heels of that controversy, there was news that the youngest actors in the film might not have been paid the appropriate amount for their work.

Now Slumdog director Danny Boyle is trying to minimize the controversy by saying that the young actors will get more money when they turn 18 years old, if they stay in school. Oh, no. Danny Boyle, I want to like you, but that is just patronizing, neo-colonialist crap. Here’s the complete article from CNN, and it’s as bad as you would think:

The two youngest stars in “Slumdog Millionaire” will get “a substantial sum of money” that would “change their lives for the better” when they turn 18, but only if they stay in school, director Danny Boyle told CNN.

Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, both 8, have been temporarily forced to stay away from school by the crush of journalists who have converged on the campus in Mumbai, Boyle said.

“The press attention that’s been focused on them is really sad at the moment and they’ve had to leave school temporarily because the press outside the school is disrupting the school,” Boyle said. “So, we’ve withdrawn them from the school for a short while.”

Boyle, in a CNN interview Thursday, said the boys were paid “way over and above what you could pay,” despite media reports to the contrary.

The success of the moderately budgeted film, about an orphan seeking fame and love through the “Millionaire” game show, drew a spotlight to the slums of Mumbai, where it was filmed.

A controversy erupted this week when the children’s parents told reporters they felt they were exploited and underpaid for their work. The Telegraph newspaper of London reported the children and their families still live in the same “tangle of makeshift shacks” in Mumbai where they lived when the casting director found them.

Azharuddin’s situation has gotten worse, the paper said, because “his family’s illegal hut was demolished by the local authorities and he now sleeps under a sheet of plastic tarpaulin with his father, who suffers from tuberculosis.”

This public relations challenge began just as Oscar ballots were mailed to members of the The Academy. Slumdog Millionaire is nominated for 10 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Boyle.

Boyle defended how his production company has treated the boys.

“We thought long and hard about how best can we benefit them and we decided to put in place an education plan for them,” Boyle said. “We put them in school, a very good school, which they’re paid for to stay in until they’re 18.”

“If they stay in school until they’re 18, a substantial sum of money is released to them then, which will effectively change their lives for the better,” Boyle said.

The Telegraph quoted their parents saying Azharuddin was paid less than $2,500, and that Rubina got about $700.

“The children were paid well,” Boyle said. “The families were paid well for their work, over and above what you could pay, way over and above what you could pay.”

“Some of the figures that have been quoted have been very inaccurate,” Boyle said. He said he would not quote the real numbers “because to do so makes them vulnerable within their own community. There are people who would take advantage of them immediately.”

Even the trust fund is a target of “gangsters,” he said. “The money that would be released to them when they are older, that is the kind of thing that can be mortgaged off by gangsters,” he said.

Boyle said the film’s financial backers have agreed that charitable groups that help children of the slums will also see “a slice of the profits.”

“We’ve all agreed that we will sit down and dedicate a slice of the profits of the film to be distributed amongst people like those who run the school and other organizations who make a big difference to children’s lives there,” he said.

“We gained from the city, both from these two children and from the city, in general, and we’ll make sure the film gives back some of the enormous success it’s had,” he said.

From CNN

The reason I think Boyle’s being very patronizing about this is the idea that only he and the producers know what’s best for these kids. It’s all very “Lord of the Manor”, teaching these Indians about how civilized people behave. I’ll take their word that they have the kids’ interests in their hearts, but you either pay someone fairly or you don’t. Either you pay them what you pay a white, Western actor, or you don’t. Either you pay them union, or you don’t. Don’t try to back-track and say, after the fact, that there’s suddenly a trust for these kids. When was the trust set up? Before or after the controversy?

There’s been a lot of talk about an organized Slumdog backlash, pointed out first in a Los Angeles Times piece. It’s regrettable that Danny Boyle’s recent comments will only add more fuel to the fire.

Danny Boyle is shown in the header on 1/14/09. Credit: WENN. Other images are stills from Slumdog Millionaire via AllMoviephoto.
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51 Responses to “Slumdog director Danny Boyle tries & fails to explain unfair children’s wages”

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  1. sissoucat says:

    How come they still live in slums if they were paid fairly ?

    Can’t believe they can’t be protected from robbers by the film company until they live in their nice villa in a good Mumbai neighborhood.

    As for a trust for staying in school, why not, but if they die from malnutrition or illness before they are 18, what happens to the money ? Lodging them well should be a top priority – and I don’t think housing is that expensive in India. Why give millions to rich people and nothing to poor ones ?

  2. bros says:

    kaiser, i agree that it is patronizing to only give them money when they are 18 and only if they stay in school. actors perform a service and should get paid for the service at the time it is rendered, regardless of where he found them. im sure he found them cheap but still paid enough to actually get the family better digs somewhere else. i am not sure i fully buy this stuff about sleeping under a plastic sheet and what not. the family’s complaints seem a bit extortionist, and the timing is really suspicious to me. this movie was released in November but all the controversy has only erupted after it started gaining notoriety in awards shows (i know it was released later in india, but still-they knew what the title was long before). what i suspect may be happening is that politicians and community leaders with political motives are stirring up controversy, inciting protests (i seriously doubt they are spontaneous) for their own political ends, and manipulating most of this. i am quite sure Boyle is correct when he says they got paid and got paid enough that he shouldnt divulge how much because it would make them targets.
    many many films (with foreign directors) use local amateur talent for the realism and rawness-i can think of many. and there isnt this huge controversy over it. they are paid amateur wages too. as they should be. they shouldnt, however, have strings attached, as you mentioned.

    this all has a whiff of david banda to me, if you catch my drift.

  3. Whitey Fisk says:

    Maybe they should have tried this technique with Lindsay Lohan.

    Can someone please explain what he means by: “The families were paid well for their work, over and above what you could pay, way over and above what you could pay.” Does he mean “you” as in “one”, or “the industry” or was that directed at the interviewer specifically or what? I don’t get what he’s trying to say…

  4. bros says:

    what i dont appreciate is the attempt by these protests (which are certainly politically manipulated) and this bad press and ‘oh look how exploitative boyle is of child actors, etc’ to make everyone who enjoyed the film into misguided, duped neo-imperialists, succumbing to ‘poorism’ (Slate magazine had a long ridiculous piece on this) and slum-porn. i really do not think this is what the people involved in this movie were trying to do. and to make entire viewing audiences somehow complicit in these accusations is really terrible-like we are western idiots gobbling up and romanticizing what life is like in the slums.

    they should be protesting about the government’s policies towards poverty and truly making steps towards getting rid of the caste system, and not protesting films.

    city of god and city of men are two examples of other ‘slum’ movies, which depicted the people living in them doing and nothing like what is happening in india happened about these movies. they just didnt win as many awards, so they werent used as political lightening rods by local interest groups.

  5. Sauronsarmy says:

    bros: Yeah I also heard people calling it “white-guilt”. WTF?

  6. Kaiser says:

    What bothered me were several points – first, the pay that CNN identifies is *way* below industry standards, and union standards.

    Second, if Boyle wants to create a trust for the kids, so be it. But the trust should be separate from their *wages* for working on a film. Legally, I don’t see how anyone but the kids’ parents can set up a trust, esp. for work wages.

    Third, I find the timing of the “trust” announcement suspect. I think it’s a ham-fisted way to divert the controversy.

    Plus all the other stuff I said in the peice about neo-colonialism.

  7. geronimo says:

    I’m with bros here. This sounds like unmerciful shit-stirring. Anyone who knows or has read anything about Boyle would find accusations of intentional exploitation impossible to credit.

    It’s plain there’s another agenda here. I’m not seeing disingenuity in his responses here, more like he’s being scapegoated for things that have nothing at all to do with the film. If it impacts on the film’s success, it will be a rotten shame.

  8. geronimo says:

    Kaiser – sorry, but charges of neo-colonialism against Danny Boyle – the product of a very solidly Irish working class family – just don’t compute for me.

  9. I’ve already wrote a small piece on this on the last “Slumdog”, so I’ll try not to be too redundant in this one. But I have to say, the more I hear about this movie, the more apprehensive I am about seeing it.

    As far as I understand it, school is “free” in India, but as with any education system, “free” is relative. There is still a lot of social/class barriers that make it difficult for kids who live in slums to access their right to education, to say nothing of the logistics – money for school supplies, uniforms, and transportation. (There aren’t a lot of schools near Dhavari, making it a costly endeavor to get to and from class.)

    It’s far more cost-effective for most families to take their kids out of school to learn a trade. Contrary to popular belief, many can make “lucrative” career sin the slums, selling their goods to fellow dwellers, or exporting them to Western counties. (Of course, they see enough profit to live comfortably in the slums, but the majority of the profit goes to the middle men, who deeply undersell product to large companies.)

    Of course, many others send their children to the street to beg from “goras” (foreigners). They target the white faces in the crowd, and then sweetly (but relentlessly!) play on their sympathies for everything from, “school pen?”, to, “chocolate?”, to straight out , “rupee?”. (They then sell back whatever goods you give them to the wallahs nearby. It breaks your heart to see it, even if you are savvy to the scheme. It’s hard not to negatively reinforce their behavior, even though you know it’s in their best interest to ignore them.)

    Just to put it in perspective – my boyfriend and I were Bollywood extras in Mumbai. (We actually saw Dhavari from our bus on the way from Colaba to the Bollywood studios. It was clastrophobic tangle of tin and tarp. At one point we were stopped in traffic, and we saw not less than nine people emerge from a tin shack no bigger than 8′ x 9′.) For a 10 hour day, we each earned 500 Rs a piece. That’s 1000 Rs (about $24) – which took care of our rent for the rest of the week. The average Indian in Mumbai can live on less than 40 Rs ($1) a day.

    They can pay (and transport, and feed) goras for a day of shooting, but they can’t afford to provide for children who live less than 2 miles away? Disgusting.

  10. Kaiser says:

    G – It’s not about his background, it’s about his words and his actions. He doesn’t have to be a member of the English aristocracy to be patronizing enough to under-pay children for their work.

  11. geronimo says:

    K – Maybe I’m just not reading his responses in the same way that other people have interpreted them. I just don’t believe that the problem here is Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle.

    Jaundice – really interesting b/ground, as was your other post on this which I loved. Thanks.

  12. lrm says:

    Many valid points on both sides,here…
    You know…’you can take the person out of the slum,but you can’t take the slum out of the person’…sorry,but while it may sound neo-colonialist,you do have to consider that all of our realities are constructed based on our environments-ie,the way we make decisions,handle situations,etc.
    You know all of these stories about people winning the lottery and in 5 years having to file bankruptcy? Or pro athletes in the same situation?

    How fair would it be to move the whole family somewhere new,without a livelihood to create that new life,and then have the money potentially blown by the children’s families before they are even old enough to decide how to spend it themselves? [it's their work,their life...how many child stars in hollywood have sued their parent/managers? Sorry to sound condescending,but it happens all the time-]Even if the parents of a child star have good intentions,they have no skills for managing such money.

    I think it’s the lesser of two evils here.
    I lived in Kenya for a couple of years,and saw the effects of both colonialism and neo-colonialism at work. Unfortunately,some of the stereotypes are true,however. There is a certain passiveness and disempowerment/victimhood that takes decades [centuries perhaps in the case of india's caste system] to be erased from one’s psyche.
    I do think it’s better to provide education for the children,keep the amount of money on the hush hush,and allow the children to have the money when they are 18.
    I also agree with comments that these *protests* are politically motivated. Most are,even in the US [check out who funds organizations on college campuses,etc. Usually you can trace them to Rockefellers,Fords,US govmt,etc. All divide and conquer strategies]. The End.(:

  13. breederina says:

    It’s common practice to use different pay scales on international films, for some reason ,( the age and circumstances of these children, the location, the story line?), this film is being targeted.
    Years ago I worked on a British/U.S. co-production being filmed with Aussie and Kiwi crews in N.Z. The actors were from all those countries plus various Pacific Islands. There were four pay scales I was aware of for the same jobs ! Whatever the producers can get away with to shave a dime they will.
    I agree Kaiser, Danny Boyle is trying to cover his ass.

  14. Kaiser says:

    G- I’m sorry I snapped at you. I agree, there is probably an aspect to this that is back-room manipulation, both by H’wood players and by Indian politicians/media. But I think it’s deplorable for Boyle not to pay the Indian actors any kind of standardized rate, and I see his current back-track as too little, too late. And I do find his attitude condescending, but that’s just my opinion.

  15. Bina says:

    Danny Boyle is absolutely correct to hide the amount these children have been paid and not release funds or make a big to-do about it. Amongst many other threats, these children could be kidnapped, not to mention the gangsters, so-called relatives, and other people who would be ready to take advantage of these chlidren, who are still pretty vulnerable. On the other hand, I think it would be a bad idea to pluck these children out of their normal background and transplant them in a rich neighborhood in Mumbai (and criminals can easily reach them there as well). They would face a lot of psychological problems and a lot of discrimination from the rich neighbors, who wouldn’t take all that kindly to the arrival of two slum children in their chi-chi communities.

    I really wish this issue hadn’t been raised by the media, which seems to be on an anti-Slumdog backlash after all the nominations and awards it’s been getting. Don’t these children deserve some privacy? They’re hardly able to hire bodyguards, for heaven’s sake. I’m of the opinion that Danny Boyle and his Indian co-producers and co-director have done the best they can for the kids. They’re probably more aware of the ground realities than most people sitting half a world away and reading about this in the media.

  16. geronimo says:

    K – no worries, it’s a tricky situation and open to interpetation. I’m basing my opinion slightly less on the CNN article and more on what I know of Danny Boyle and the type of person he is/comes across as and is described as by those who know him well. I think Bina is probably on the money with this:

    “I’m of the opinion that Danny Boyle and his Indian co-producers and co-director have done the best they can for the kids. They’re probably more aware of the ground realities than most people sitting half a world away and reading about this in the media.”

  17. Ned says:

    You could see the same patronizing and belittling approach when you watch the movie.

    It’s like the movie was made by British colonists looking down at the Indians.

    I found the film to be racist, uninformed and condescending. Too bad such unfortunate attitudes ruined the film.

  18. While I’m not against the idea of a “trust-fund” for the best interest of the children, the qualifications for receiving it are unreasonable and unrealistic – unless the families received either an upfront or siphoned payment to provide adequate means to go to school in the first place.

    Again, the money we were personally paid to sit around in air conditioning, chatting with 20-some other Western “extras”, could have provided an Indian family food, rent and clothing for a solid two weeks. Furthermore, our scenes weren’t even used! That’s over 10,000 Rs the studio ate in one day! You’re telling me that Boyle couldn’t provide a fraction of that to ensure the kids have school necessities – like shoes, books and transporation?

    The whole thing seems purposefully convoluted to me. It’s either an excuse thought up as an afterthought, or else a ploy to ensure the trust-funds won’t be needed.

  19. Ned says:

    You could see the same patronizing and belittling approach when you watch the movie.

    It’s like the movie was made by British colonists looking down at the Indians

  20. Ned says:

    I found the film to be “racist”, uninformed and condescending.

    Too bad such unfortunate attitudes ruined the film.

  21. Catie says:

    Ned – obviously you’ve never been to india, b/c the slums really are that bad. I don’t think anyone was looking down on them…it’s just a fact that that’s how people live

  22. Ned says:

    It’s the attitude and the choices they made in presenting the Indian people as violent, ignorant, racist etc, not the fact that there is poverty in India.

    I have met Indians and nothing could be farther than the truth.

    These people are so peaceful and respectful- look how they did nothing and showed incredible restraint after the last terrorist killings they have just experienced.

    I am not surprised that the film was made by British people and reflects the way THEY see India.

    India has a rich peaceful culture and I certainly think the movie looked down on them.

  23. Baholicious says:

    ” WE (emphasis is mine) decided…” What Royal We is this? What is it with these white people (no offense to my white friends on the board, or my Mom) who feel the need to swoop in and “rescue” these children of colour by effectively over-riding and removing them from their parents?

    It’s demeaning, belittling and patronizing. The “White Man’s Burden” all over again.

    Shame on you Danny Boyle. Take your arrogance and cram it.

  24. Baholicious says:

    Irm, you’re saying coloured people will squander the money, that’s what you’re saying. At least be up-front about it.

  25. Baholicious says:

    Maybe it’s too bad there isn’t colonialism anymore, because now the coolies can’t get on merchant ships and head to Kenya, Uganda or the West Indies to escape the poverty by working as indentured labour as my forebears did.

    Yet in an ass-backward way, indentured labour is exactly what Boyle has proposed by his whole notion of we’ll compensate you when you’re finished the job.

    If I’m wrong on any of this or speaking out of turn, I certainly apologize but I don’t think so. To a degree, you have to see this through Indian eyes I suppose.

  26. Mairead says:

    I’ve not yet seen the film so I cannot comment on the content or the approach of the writers/director (which did have an Indian co-writer for the Hindi sections, no?)

    I can see the validity of both sides of the argument, but I don’t know what to think. As their education is being paid for, I’m going to give Boyle the benefit of the doubt that it means that everything relating to education – school meals etc. is also paid for.

    But say the parents’ claims are right, how fair a wage that is depends on the work they did and how many days/hours they worked and if it works out at Bollywood industry standards. It’s difficult to know. Maybe Jaundice, if you know, could tell us how much “speaking” actors got?

    Just diverting a bit Jaundice on one of your points – I can understand your frustration with being paid a good wage relative to those in the slum in question, but is it the film company’s responsibility to provide for them? If the government taking money away from the taxpayers and using it for the very poor is tantamount to Socialism, (a bad bad thing as we learned during the US election). Then isn’t taking money from the film’s investors to do that a form of privatised Socialism.) Or was it a government-run studio you worked at?

    As Breederina and Jaundice pointed out in their own ways, parity of pay with the US film industry just doesn’t happen abroad as films get as films get produced there because it’s cheaper. If parity of pay with the US is the issue, then, for example, European extras and craftsmen must be paid exactly the same as US firms, with the same conditions, with no regard for what the local wage agreements (if any), legislation or conditions are.

    (Oddly, I could see that as being very popular for those on the lower rungs in Hollywood, as without the cheaper production costs, there would be no need to film abroad. Ok so, you’d basically sound the death-knell for the local film industry there, but sure Hollywood can just provide more remakes – I’m sorry, I’m being facetious)

  27. Mairead says:

    (my previous comment is in moderation, so I’ll try not to repeat myself)

    I do see your points Baho, it could be interpreted that they’re being paid by education and a sum of money (which may or may not be subject to deflation) in 10 years. Which woud definitely smack of “if we give you all this now, you’ll just blow it all in a year”.

    But I’m reading it as there was a wage, of however much, which could be fair, depending on the work done and Indian industry standard. The education + bonus being an additional investment in the children. I’m not really seeing it as indentured labour. Now I’m not saying I’m right; i don’t really know what to think to be honest.

    (interestingly, I was always told that the oldest branch of my “American cousins” were also brought over as indentured labour. The lives of the poor were pretty expendable until very recently even in the West.)

  28. Baholicious says:

    Thank-you Mairead, I appreciate you tempering my argument. The indentured labour analogy was my feelings talking before the brain went entirely in gear but I still see a parallel.

    My paternal grandmother just passed away. She and her brother went to Guyana as children from India. I had other family who went in the late 1800s.

    There were Bhajans sung at her funeral. And I didn’t know what a Bhajan was…

    I’m madder at myself than I am at Danny Boyle. If that makes sense :-(

  29. mark bloom says:

    Let’s apply Boyle’s reasoning and rewrite the ending of the film…

    Jamal wins the 20 mil. The producers of the show saysthey’ll give him 2500 rupees and hold the rest in a trust fund until he goes back to school and earns a GED.

    Jamal loses his job at the call center and he and Latika are forced back to the slum. They do what they can to survive the oppressive poverty, but Jamal never is able to earn his GED.

    They die in despair, broken and impoverished. Meanwhile the producers still hold the 20 mil in a trust fund for Jamal’s own good.

    Who would buy a ticket for that movie?

  30. Mairead says:

    Oh I don’t know – I’ve seen Chinese dramas with happier storylines…

  31. disgusted says:

    c’mon this is a country that sees no problem with forcing kids to a bench and having them work 12-15 hours a day…who in the hell do you think made our soccer balls, etc. I used the verb made because I don’t know if Nike still outsources this labor.
    Children are a cheap commodity it seems, and how very sad. I wouldn’t waste a penny of my money on a movie that exploits children both on and off screen. ICK

  32. Some GUy says:

    Why the hell are you all so worried about the shoddy reporting that is CNN? The act of paying those kids was a hell of a lot more difficult than simply handing them a check or a wad of cash.

    This is from Boyle.

    FILMMAKERS STATEMENT:

    From the moment that we hired them and long before the press became interested in this story, we have paid painstaking and considered attention to how Azhar and Rubina’s involvement in the film could be of lasting benefit to them over and above the payment they received for their work.

    The children had never attended school, and in consultation with their parents we agreed that this would be our priority. Since June 2008 and at our expense, both kids have been attending school and they are flourishing under the tutelage of their dedicated and committed teachers. Financial resources have been made available for their education until they are 18. We were delighted to see them progressing well when we visited their school and met with their teachers last week.

    In addition to their educational requirements, a fund is in place to meet their basic living costs, health care and any other emergencies. Furthermore, as an incentive for them to continue to attend school a substantial lump sum will be released to each child when they complete their studies. Taking into account all of the children’s circumstances we believe that this is the right course of action.

    Since putting in place these arrangements more than 12 months ago we have never sought to publicize them, and we are doing so now only in response to the questions raised recently in the press. We trust that the matter can now be put to bed, and we would request that the media respect the children’s privacy at this formative time in their lives.

  33. geronimo says:

    @Some Guy – thanks for this. Really disliked the agenda-led shit-stirring in the original article, very provocative. In the circumstances, it sounds to me like Boyle & Co tried to do their best, in very testing circumstances, for the young actors. Perhaps there are better ways to help these kids and ensure a future for them but the condemnation he’s getting here seems unwarranted and unjustified. JMO.

  34. Whitey Fisk says:

    Some Guy, thanks for posting. I think you just changed my mind. He makes some good points, and seeing “in consultation with their parents…” is reassuring. I don’t like the idea that one guy is imposing his ideals and his definition of a worthwhile life on people of a vastly different culture and background. But if that statement is truthful and accurate, I think he probably did as well as could be expected.

    Regarding the notion that the poor Indian schleps would blow right through the money….Anyone remotely in touch with our current global economy would agree that lots and lots of old, highly-educated white men have mishandled MASSIVE quantities of money. Lack of education can contribute to irresponsible spending, but there are lots of factors. Unless someone can point me to a sociological study I’m not aware of, assuming it’s safer to give a wad of cash to a middle-class white person than to a lower-class non-white person is misguided.

  35. Bros says:

    ned, you seriously prove yourself over and over to be ignorant, shortsighted and misguided. “i have met indians before and they are peaceful” WTF are you even saying? you seriously make no sense. and lumping all of india into one big ‘peaceful’ bloc indicates your total lack of awareness of india’s history and religious issues and the continuing communal violence that takes place regularly there, so i definitely wouldn’t say that india is simply peaceful. it doesnt invade other countries like the US does, but its far from internally peaceful. read a newspaper or something, why don’t you.

    thank you to whomever posted the directors statement. its really pissing me off that this movie is getting trashed, like boyle et al carelessly and with impunity made this movie. a considerable amount of care, collaboration with local entities and sensitive planning went into making this film. for those with unfounded ‘reservations’ about seeing it, understand that this muckracking is politically motivated by interest groups, politicians, and the media, and it is a huge shame to use SDM as the scapegoat for huge societal and economic problems in India. this movie is not the problem. income distribution and indian politics is the problem.

  36. Ned says:

    I don’t know of any country who would do NOTHING after they have discovered that their neighbor had sent terrorists to kill, kidnap Westerners and Indians, and try to harm the commercial activity and tourism to a huge economic center.

    I think that speaks volumes of the culture, that gave us Gahndi and their religious beliefs are among the most peaceful in the world.

    Perhaps you should read and get to know the people of India before you make such ignorant accusation.

    Their actions speak for themselves.

    The film looks down on them, just as the BRitish colonists treated them in a patronizing and condescending manner.

    I wish we had more countries that under oppression and colonialism- bring leaders like Gahndi to the world, and under terrorism, are so restraint and peaceful.

    And getting to know more of their wonderful people is one way to see what a rich and peaceful culture they share.

  37. Jill says:

    Ned, it’s GANHDI.

  38. Bros says:

    ned,

    india is far more culturally, linguistically, and importantly, religiously diverse place than you are taking into consideration when you are talking about ganhdi. again, you show your ignorance in speaking about “indian” religion, when indian religions encompass several other religions in addition to Hinduism and Islam, both of which have been responsible for incredible communal violence against one another. in case you dont know what communal violence is, look it up online. maybe even add india to the search so you can see how compeletely idiotic and off base your statements are, particularly pertaining to the supposed ‘peacefulness’ of indians (by which i think you mean hindus). there are so many instances of communal violence, its not even funny. start by reading about 2002 in gujarat. and stop being such a lame generalizer with such a weak hold on current events and history.

  39. Mairead says:

    I thought that India and Pakistan (both nuclear powers) have basically been logger-heads since 1948 over Kashmir? Well, certainly for decades at any rate.

    And it wasn’t Pakistan itself that declared war and launched the 2006 and 2008 attacks, it was Pakistan-based terrorist groups aided by Indian-based groups also if memory serves. There is a difference. As I said, they’re both nuclear powers and it’s in both their interests (and ours) that they show this admirable restraint.

  40. Ned says:

    The vast majority of Indians are hindus, and yes, there have been numerous occasions of violence with the muslim minority.

    This doesn’t sound special to India. Are the French to be considered belligerent because they too, have suffered from muslim violence?
    How about the non- muslim people of Darfur, are they to be considered anything but peaceful?

    Again, had they been anything but peaceful, they would have reacted against Pakistan, as many other countries would- not just the USA.

    They had proof and evidence that the terrorists came from an organization rooted in the Pakistani society, and as they have shown in the past, they show incredible restraint as a culture (yes, I am referring to the vast majority and yes- the vast majority is hindu).

    So you can spead your propaganda as much as you like, but the actions of India and the people of India (the vast majority at least) are very peaceful people who show incredible restraint and showed in the past incredible restrain when they faced oppression and violence.

  41. bros says:

    again ned, your ignorance prevails. this isnt indians, or hindus suffering FROM muslims. this is nothing akin to france and its a terrible, stupid analogy. the muslims that live in india are not immigrants (although they are treated like they are) and india wasnt a hindu majority until the british carved it up and artificially made it so by creating pakistan and bangladesh. seriously. read something about militant hinduism. read anything at all, before you attribute the reason why india isnt at war with pakistan to incredible restraint and a natural ‘peacefulness’. (mairead gave you your answer).

  42. Patti says:

    How conceited is Danny Boyle?!!

    I’m of Indian origin and have travelled in India for years. After seeing “Slum-dog Millionaire” I was pleased to see that the slumbs were as visually true to the real-life situations I’ve seen back in India.

    How DARE he think what he is doing is fair ethically and morally?!

    As he says “The two youngest stars in “Slumdog Millionaire” will get “a substantial sum of money” that would “change their lives for the better” when they turn 18, but only if they stay in school..”

    Only if they stay in school?! How are they to survive until they are 18 yrs old? These children are experiencing life altering situations and as a result from the press and thugs of India do not have proper homes to shelter in with sick and ailing family members.

    If they survive to the age of 18 they can be privy to the trust fund they are entitled to. But what if they don’t? Their life could have been a lot better with acess to some of that money.

    How dare he take a white elitest attitude in regards to these boys lives!!! Next he will be adding on: If they stay good little boys and listen to everything I say.

    He is right in not disclosing the actual amount that the children are doing to be paid. But these children are not his and should not be treated as if their living environment is not harsh and heart-breaking. Has he forgetted what can happen when everything is taken away from you when you live in the slums of India?

    Maybe he should re-watch his movie and try to realise how degrading his attitude is towards these boys, their lives and most importantly their well-being.

  43. Ned says:


    the muslims that live in india are not immigrants

    Go back to read what I have written.
    Do you see any reference that indicate such statement?

    Just because you clearly have an agenda doesn’t mean you can distort historic facts (“india wasnt a hindu majority until the british carved it up and artificially made it so by creating pakistan”) and excuse and justify violence (“although they are treated like they are”- immigrants) ”

    So now everything is clear. You clearly have an agenda.
    This is a very lame attempt to distort and bash the people of India.

    They do have a rich and peaceful culture. Always have been, even as a colony under oppression.

    This is a great example of why the attitude of the film is problematic.

    Not only does it represent the old patronizing and belittling view of the British colonists, but also Pakistani/ Muslims will use it instrumentally as a justification for violence, and it gives fodder to those who wish to bash the hindus and justify the terror attacks they had to endure from Pakistan.

    And as for France and the lame attempt to distort the facts there too- while some of the muslim violence was carried by immigrants, many of the muslims were second and third generation- living in France.

    oh, and in case you try to make another shoddy “excuse”, being an immigrant and the difficulties of immigrations are not a peculiar muslim thing.
    There are immigrants from many countries, many of them came from far more difficult circumstances than the ones in Arab countries, and there is no excuse for terror or violence.

    Do you have an excuse for the muslim violence in Darfur as well, or should we leave it at you calling me names, and decrying the people of India while giving more excuses to the muslim violence in France?

  44. Mairead says:

    Patti, I respectfully suggest that you read comment 32, posted by “Some GUy: January 31st, 2009 at 1:58 am ” which explains what the motivation behiind their gesture was far more eloquently than CNN did with Danny Boyle’s verbal statement. It does seem to me that the education and cash-bonus is just that, a bonus over and above their normal wage, and is meant to be a nice gesture. People the world over appreciate and know the value of a good education. As they hadn’t expected the film to do so well (his films usually perform respectibly well at box-office, but aren’t usually smash-hits), it looks like they’re re-examining how best to share a portion of the profits with the community that enabled them to get the film made.

    Ned. I really don’t want this to turn into a Ned-bashing fiasco, nor can I speak Bros, only myself. Please come out and state what “agenda” you’re accusing us of. I’m afraid the only posts here which seem to have a religious agenda is your latest post, where you display an anti-Islamic view. This appears to be clouding how you read Bros’s posts. Neither Bros nor I have ever espoused an anti-Hindu bias and I must insist that you retract that claim.

    I’ve seen the effects of sectarian violence, so I would assume that the Sikh and Christian communities, as well as Hindus and Muslims, have undoubtedly suffered at the hands of sectarian violence over the years.

    And which French violence are discussing? The Parisian riots of a couple of years back? It’s my understanding that was centred on some of the poorest suburbs of the city; however it was managed the Muslim youth in those suburbs felt that there was systematic oppression against them because of their religion and it’s that, rather than “just” a need to rail against Parisian secular-Christian society that caused the riots? If I’m wrong then, as always, I’m open to correction. I’m only an arm-chair historian when it comes to world affairs and I only know what I pick up in occasional news reports.

    Mahatma Gandhi was and remains a remarkably influential man and his policy of non-violent civil disobedience was remarkably effective in capturing the imagination and good will of those “at home” in Britain as much as anything else. His unique place in the independence movement was recognised by Jarahawal Nehru in his new government . But it’s not safe to assume that Empire simply handed over India after World War II just because Gandhi said so. I am pretty sure that there were separate militant independence factions involved in the struggle for Independence in India, for right or for wrong. Most societies are essentially non-violent and peace-loving, until pushed to extremes.

  45. Ned says:

    Mairead, I wasn’t talking to you.

    Go back and read what he claimed and how he distorted historic facts and claimed that the Hindus are not peaceful.

  46. Bina says:

    Woo-hoo! I’m Pakistani AND Muslim and Ned is making me feel so special! I’m the cause of all the problems in the world!

  47. Mairead says:

    Yes Bina, I’m afraid that it’s been proven that you are. Perhaps you should have t-shirts printed up with that legend? *wink* (I am joking of course – beer is the cause of and answer to all life’s problems. Would Homer Jay Simpson lie to you?)

    Ned, thank you for clarifying that. I really don’t want this to become a cat-fight, especially as I know about as much about India as you do, but I took you up on your offer to re-read Bros’s posts and I still think you may have gotten the wrong end of the stick .

    I understood that Bros was saying that their understanding of it is that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, being a huge subcontinent, have a history that’s far more complicated than Muslims Bad, Hindus Good. Nobody is saying that the Hindus, Sikhs or anybody else are war-mongering villians. Bros was pointing out that there has been sectarian violence between the Hindus and Muslims. That is a fact, not a value judgement. Ok Bros was a bit short with you, but it doesn’t mean he/she has an anti-Hindu bias.

    Again, it’s not my attention to attack anyone, and I sincerely apologise if that’s how it seems. I’m just sharing my perspective and the history that I;ve heard about.

  48. Bina says:

    I don’t want to get into this fight either, but I will say this: in India, the opinion is that Muslims were invaders who came to India back in the 16th century and forcefully converted many of the Hindus who were indigenous to India.

    So today you see the right wing Hindu parties such as the BJP and RSS (who are EXTREMELY violent, no matter what Ned says), stirring up a lot of propaganda and violence against the Muslim communities, saying that they will drive out the Muslims, blaming Pakistan for all the problems in Kashmir, so on and so forth.

    India is by no means a peaceful country. There are conflicts all over: the Naxalites, Maoists, Kashmiris, and many other groups are in conflict with the government all the time. Not to mention India’s support for the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, which has caused one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern history.

    The militants in Pakistan are leftovers from the days when America funded the Mujahideen to fight the Russians in the Afghan war. After the Afghan War ended, American interests in the region vanished, so you had a population of armed fighters (Arabs, Chechens, Central Asians mixed in and intermarried with the local Pashtuns) who then had to deal with the aftermath of a wrecked Afghanistan. Hence the birth of the Taliban.

    The result is what you see today, twenty years later: spilling over the entire region and causing upheaval for everyone.

    And yeah, I’m Pakistani and Muslim, but I’m not really interested in taking sides or saying “My country is better than yours”. This is just history, as Mairead said.

  49. bros says:

    thanks you bina-perhaps ned will feel inspired to read a newspaper or a history book. my points were nicely reiterated by Mairead, and it still stands that ned is over-generalizing and has little grasp on history or politics, and now to top it off, is revealed to be a biggoted anti-muslim jerkoff. and no ned, i don’t have a bias or an agenda-im just pointing out the gaping holes is your ‘argument’ if you could ever call it that.

  50. lastvisit says:

    all of this “intellectualizing” and arrogance is sickening to read

  51. Ned says:

    My “so called argument” was to say that the hindus in India have a rich and peaceful culture, a claim, that raised very strong feelings on your part, and the need to call names as a defense mechanism.

    As for the historic facts of muslim violence that has taken place not only in India, but also in Farnce, and Darfur (correction: still taking place)- this is not an arguement- but historic anc current facts.

    It is very sad that you can’t mention very known historic facts, or say a positive thing about India, without being called names, just because it is not comfortable for your argument against India and the vast majority of the people of India- who are peaceful people.

    I am sorry that you feel the need to bash such a lovely country and such a lovely group of people, and to bash me for sharing my thought about their culture.