The Use of Poverty Porn in Slumdog Millionaire and Its Effect of the Western View of India

1967 Words May 29th, 2012 8 Pages
Multiple Source Paper
Slumdog Millionaire: The Feel-Good Movie

When Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire came out at the end of 2008, people instantly fell in love with it. In 2009 it was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won eight, which was the most won by any film that year. Everyone seemed to be very drawn to the “feel good” aspect of the movie where a poor kid like Jamal, the main character of Boyle’s film, can overcome the massive obstacles thrown in front of his path to success and eventually come out with the girl, 100 million Rupees and the love of the nation where he just become an overnight sensation. “Slumdog Millionaire”, a movie review written by Robert Koehler, and Alice Miles’, “Shocked by Slumdog’s Poverty Porn”,
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This sense of being better and more powerful than Eastern countries that is felt in England and the US, leads us to expect social injustices like the ones shown in Slumdog Millionaire are a normal occurrence those living in the third world. The fact that Jamal also escapes his fate of living a life of poverty only gives a somewhat false sense of hope to people in this situation for the movies viewers and helps to “massage” (Koehler, 454) their view on the harsh reality of a culture they barely know. Miles also talks about how the movie plays on our false sense of cultural reality in India, she quotes the Mumbai Mirror about how the term “slumdog” is not a term that is widely recognized in India. They explain that, “It appears to be a British Invention to describe a poor Dharavi kid in a derogatory way.” The use of this coined and somewhat derogatory term only helps in supporting the sense of western dominance over the east by classifying Jamal and many people in similar socioeconomic situation as slumdogs. The authors are both very much in agreement on their theory that one reason Slumdog Millionaire was so popular was because of a combination of ignorance in the targeted westernized audience towards the