Presentation on theme: "In India, this is both a game and reality.. If income in India were distributed completely equally, the entire nation would still be living on less than."— Presentation transcript:
If income in India were distributed completely equally, the entire nation would still be living on less than half the UK poverty line. That’s because according to the Indian government, anyone living on less than $0.53 a day is considered to be living ‘under the poverty line’. That’s 43% of the population. 43% of Indian children are still malnourished, and that is also a third of the world’s total. Over 35% of Indians are illiterate, and more than 20 million children are out of school. Yet India is also home to 61 billionaires!
In Mumbai, the Dharavi slum contains over a million people. As many as 18,000 people crowd into a single acre (0.4 hectares). This is the setting for the film, Slumdog Millionaire. One billion people or one third of the world’s population is estimated to be living in either slum or squatter settlements Squatter and slum settlements have formed mainly because of the inability of city governments to plan and provide affordable housing for the low-income segments of the urban population.
It has been suggested that Dharavi is a slum with a difference, it is a slum that is hopeful. Whether this is tru or not, the setting of the slum does provide opportunity for those who are willing to take advantage of the conditions. A slum is an informal settlement, meaning that it is not officially recognised, meaning that the usual rules and laws do not always apply. In Slumdog Millionaire, which characters use the slum as a place of opportunity ?
1.Maman exploits the slum children and uses their hunger and desperation to make money for himself. 2.Jahvid and Maman exploit Salim’s desire for wealth 3.Salim and Jamal steal and cheat tourists, confused by the chaos in Mumbai, out of their money
Capitalism is an economic system whereby there is a ‘free market’ and anyone who has the means to create a business to sell goods/services may do so and keep their profits. The owners of these businesses are known as capitalists. This then means that people who do not have the means to have their own business, can earn money from the owner of the business by selling their labour (their physical work) to the owner for a wage. These people are known as the workers. However the problem with this system is that quite often the workers can never earn enough money to become a capitalist themselves and remain dependent on the capitalist. Many theorists (such as Karl Marx)argue then, that the workers are exploited by the more powerful capitalists. On the other hand, a capitalist society allows there to be an opportunity for anyone to become wealthy so long as they can raise the money and are willing to take the risk in creating their own business.
Wealthy nations such as the US, the UK and Australia exploit the poorer nations by buying their land or resources to make money for themselves. E.g. Wealthy Australian mining companies setting up mines in Africa and using the resources in Africa to make money. Or by setting up businesses in third world nations to make use of the cheap labour. E.g. ‘sweatshops’ or call centres.
Maman is a wealthy slum gangster who uses the desperation of slum dwellers to his advantage. He offers slum children food and shelter in exchange for their labour. (Much like the way capitalism works). The children act as professional beggars and give the profits of their begging to Maman. Maman exploits their youth, innocence and desperation for food and shelter. When Salim, Latika and Jamal arrive at the camp where Maman keeps the children they are delighted and believe Maman to be a good person, ‘The way he’s taking care of us, he must be a good man.’ Maman also gives Salim the idea that he has to be cruel and exploit others in order to be successful, ‘You want the life of a slumdog or the life of a man, huh?’
When Maman offers Salim and Jamal the Coke to entice them into following him it is symbolic of the way Western Culture (lead by America) has become the marker of success. Coca Cola is an international symbol of American capitalism. One interpretation of this scene, is that Maman, dressed in western style clothes, represents the western world. Maman’s exploitation of the slum children, then represents the way the western world exploits third world countries using them as a cheap source of labour.
Both Maman and Jahvid exploit Salim and use Salim’s desire for wealth to make him their subordinates. As Jahvid's and Maman’s subordinate, Salim terrorizes and intimidates others to make money for Maman and Jahvid. Maman recognises this potential in Salim and says to his associate, ‘Punoose, I think you found your dog.’ Salim acts likes Maman’s and Jahvid’s dog by doing their every bidding, even if it means betraying his own brother. Salim argues he had to work for Jahvid after he killed Maman, ‘Who else do you think would save us from Maman’s guys?’ Salim is a slave to the slum gangsters and a slave to his own greed. Salim is representative of the way a worker becomes a slave in the capitalist economy.
In this scene, Salim and Jamal are seated on a building site overlooking the industry taking place in Dharavi. The scene is shot at a high angle and is a wide shot, emphasizing the amount of industry in the scene below. The light source in this scene comes from the streets below, which causes the figures of Salim and Jamal to be shadowed outlines. The light source coming from the streets below reflects how the developing industry symbolises hope for the end of poverty in India. Yet the fact that Jamal and Salim, two ‘slum boys’ are in the shadows suggests that all this industry by the Indian government will not change the lives of the people living in the slums. It is a false hope/promise from the wealthy government organisations.
In India, the call centre’s allow big businesses to get cheap labour to handle customer enquiries. Although the Indian workers are being exploited by the capitalist system, it does provide hope for many Indians. 1. In Slumdog Millionaire, what role does the call centre playin giving hope to the characters in Slumdog Millionaire?
Leads Jamal to find Latika and Salim. Allows Jamal to become a contestant on ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’. The knowledge Jamal picks up in the call centre assists him in answering one of the questions on the game show. The call centre leads him to reconnect with his brother, Salim, which gives Salim the opportunity to finally make a moral decision and right his past wrongs. (Salim gives Latika her freedom and Jamal his only love, by sacrificing his own life.)
In India, and in the film, everyone ‘wants to be a millionaire’. The game is symbolic of how greed drives a society and divides a society: Mamman and Jahvid have turned to a life of crime in order to become rich. Salim is so desperate to be rich; he betrays his own brother. His desire to ‘become a millionaire’ eventually leads to his death. The final scene of him laying in a bath full of money symbolises how greed can lead to immorality. Ironically, Jamal is only character does not to be a millionaire; he is only motivated by his love for Latika. Yet it is his desire for Latika that allows him to become a millionaire.
Salim dies in a bathful of money. His greed and desire to ‘become a millionaire’ ultimately leads to his death. This represents how greed corrupts. A bath is symbolic of cleanliness. Up until this point in the film, Salim has been drivin by greed (sin) to commit more sins. His final act of murder cleanses his past sins. He kills Jahvid, the cruel Dharavi gangster, and sacrifices his own life, so that Jamal and Latika can be free.
Cultural Hegemony/Mass Culture According to Karl Mark cultural hegemony describes a situation where the ruling class’s values and attitudes dominate and are accepted and adopted by the other classes as the ‘cultural norm’. The ruling class’s values and attitudes are seen as the most desirable. Due to mass communication, such as film, the internet, music and TV American culture is the most dominant culture in the world. American values and attitudes have become the most desirable and have been adopted by other nations.
In the film, Coke, the $100 bill and the game- show represent the way American values and attitudes have permeated Indian culture and divided the society. Many of the characters value wealth, power and economic success through exploiting those weaker than they (Javed, Salim and Maman) Many of these same characters express greedy, domineering and selfish attitudes. These characters have developed these values and attitudes due to the American cultural hegemony that has been instilled in Indian society through mass culture.
The soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire features a song by MIA called ‘Paper Planes’. The chorus of the song includes a gun and cash register sound effect while the following words are sung: ‘All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!) And (KKKAAAA CHING!) And take your money’ The song is about the way people in the third world turn to a gangster lifestyle to satisfy their desire to achieve the ‘American Dream’. A dream that is set as the ideal through mass culture.