Rensil D’Silva on why Slumdog didn’t work for him


MUMBAI: While the world is a raving about Slumdog Millionaire, Indian scriptwriter and ad filmmaker Rensil D’Silva begs to differ!

D’Silva, who rose to fame as the writer of Rang De Basanti, has now turned director with his debut film for Dharma Productions.

The multi-faceted D’Silva speaks to about the much talked about Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

While he is happy for the makers of the film and proud that two Indians have been awarded with the prestigious Oscars; personally he didn’t like the film. "I just feel that it’s an average film, which possibly appeals to a white sensibility. The West would like to continue to see these images. Though some people protest and say it’s not correct criticism, I feel it is correct criticism."

Giving an example about a scene in Slumdog where the two kids are being chased by the police, he says, "It’s a very telling part of the film and when you cut out and show a man washing clothes in the sewers in that scene, it makes you believe that if you really were concentrating on the chase then you should concentrate only on it. The need to add an image to enhance the so called exotica of the slums is sometimes needless. Moreover if you look at the film, it is either linked to a whorehouse, or to Dharavi and apart from the BPO, you never see it linked to modern India."

While D’Silva doesn’t have a problem with the way it has been made by the people since it’s their sensibility; being an Indian he feels he would not have made a film like Slumdog. "I can’t have three musketeers being taught in a Dharavi school. I also don’t think I would have such gaping holes in the film where a contestant is taken and tortured after he finishes a competition and then brought to the sets the next day. I don’t think you can do that in the game Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Also I don’t think the contestants and the quiz master can talk to each other, so what are we talking about?"

D’Silva feels that had Slumdog been made by an Indian director, it would not have succeeded because firstly he would not have got the budget of $15 million. "You don’t get that kind of money without a huge star cast and you don’t have the kind of marketing might that Slumdog did. The West would not have been interested in marketing it. According to me, it would only succeeded if it was made by a white man with a white sensibility for a white audience. The fact that Dev Patel, if you are really being honest, should not have a Brit accent and be a slum boy. So there it falls on it’s face, unlike a film like City of God, which is an indigenous film where at least the characters are home grown," says D’Silva.