Slums, Dogs & Millionaires: Jai Ho…
Let’s give it to them this time. The media in India wins the highest award (maybe the Oscars of the media industry) for the coverage of this year’s Oscarmania.
Innovative headlines, opinions, debates and what have you. Neologisms find ink even above the fold. Slumdogmania, Oscarahmania, Jai O, Slum God, Grand Slum…need I go on?
One headline screamed that we’ve put behind our 26/11 since we bagged the Oscars. My personal apologies to Mrs. Hemant Karkare, Mr Karambir Kang and others who lost someone in the carnage.
So then, we are the happiest country in the world today. This is the new big O, the recent one being Obama. The internet is buzzing. Online groups, bloggers et al are creating/forwarding text singing ‘Jai Ho…’ in a cacophony. As always, I come across as rain on the parade. When Obama was elected, I had my own doubts about his capabilities and now there are reports that his ratings are dipping much faster than he or his spinmeisters could have imagined.
My son, all of seven, asked me to take him to a movie about a dog name slum. With lot of effort I did manage (or I thought I did) to convince him that it is not a kids’ movie and it has no dog named slum. But then when he goes to the mother and talks about a dog named slum, I know I’ve failed.
If one has to analyse the history of American awards or beauty pageants, there is a set pattern in it and any sane person can see the clear bias emerging towards the markets they want to tap in or have a sizable presence in. This is a great American rope trick! Well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against the movie or our very own AR Rahman getting an award, but when you look at the formidable competition the movie had, this indeed is a surprise. And our very own media, tired of printing or telecasting boring news from western markets, finally got some good news coming in from there and they just did what they do the best. Go overboard and be as creative (or asinine) as possible.
This movie will definitely do some good for us. We will get more tourists coming in India to see the slums (and we have enough to sustain them all) and its dogs (thanks to BMC non-sterilization campaign we have many) and bring in millions to our country. In fact, we should produce more such movies and give tax breaks to producers shooting in Dharavi and other such slums across the country. I am thinking of launching a specific research company and/or a See Dharavi tourism company to find out hidden (presumably) stories from such slums and sell it to global studios. If I am not wrong, I was reading somewhere that even if they redevelop Dharavi, they would keep some portion of the slums intact, so that people can see what it used to be. Way to go!
Question my little wisdom and ask me, how would few American corporations benefit from naming Indian beauties as Miss XYZ or ABC, or giving few awards to a movie like this? Well, the answer is as simple as the word ‘simple’ is. If you want to know the answer of this question, ask why IPL was been created. It is not a cricketing event but an event for the media to have a field day or a marketing machine for others. This also has a cricket in it. So is the Oscar and the Miss Universe or Miss World or Miss Earth or Miss Ozone or Miss TV… Did I miss anything?
We consume. They feed.
So, while we remain dogs in slums, the real millionaires will sing ‘Jai Ho…’ and throw some scraps at us once in a while whenever they want to add few more millions in their accounts, in this case heavy statuettes.