The buzz about Slumdog Millionaire has people talking about Indian films again. To those who care about international cinema, this seems like a good thing. It raises awareness; it provokes debate. The only problem is that, to my ear, the discussion itself sounds tinny.
Bollywood is invariably stereotyped by the west, while Indian cinema as a whole is poorly understood. Depending on who you ask, Slumdog either captures the tragic exhilaration of Mumbai or cheapens it; its depiction of Mumbai’s massive Dharavi slums is either precisely accurate or hopelessly out-of-date. Yet Indian film, and its relationship to the real world,…
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