‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Tanking in India

The critically acclaimed “Slumdog Millionaire” is not doing well in its native India, Madhur Singh reports for TIME.

For many Indians, the film’s subject and treatment are familiar to the point of being banal. A lot of Indians are not keen to watch it for the same reason they wouldn’t want to go to Varanasi or Pushkar for a holiday — it’s too much reality for what should be entertainment. “We see all this every day,” says Shikha Goyal, a Mumbai-based PR executive who left halfway through the film. “You can’t live in Mumbai without seeing children begging at traffic lights and passing by slums on your way to work. But I don’t want to be reminded of that on a Saturday evening.” There is also a sense of injured national pride, especially for a lot of well-heeled metro-dwellers, who say the film peddles “poverty porn” and “slum voyeurism.”

I’m quite unlikely to get around to watching it any time soon for a different reason:  the subtitles.   I like reading.  I like watching movies.   I despise doing them simultaneously.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    I love subtitles. On English language movies, when I watch the DVDs, I turn on the English subtitles because often the dialogue is garbled or too muffled to hear what’s going on in the scene. Or maybe it’s just I’m getting old and losing my hearing 🙂




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  2. James Joyner says:

    I turn on the English subtitles because often the dialogue is garbled or too muffled to hear what’s going on in the scene.

    There are times when that’d be helpful to me but the problem is that I find them distracting — I’m subconsciously forced to read them and that takes away from the more global experience of watching the film unfold.




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  3. Triumph says:

    I’m quite unlikely to get around to watching it any time soon for a different reason: the subtitles. I like reading. I like watching movies. I despise doing them simultaneously.

    To be honest, there are no movies worth watching that are not in American English.

    Even British movies are crap.




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  4. SoloD says:

    There were really only a limited amount of subtitles in this movie, although the Indian English did take a little adjustment period, but no worse than when calling your computer help line.

    Pretty good movie, all in all.




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  5. I was under the impression that it was mostly in English.




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  6. James Joyner says:

    There were really only a limited amount of subtitles in this movie, although the Indian English did take a little adjustment period, but no worse than when calling your computer help line.

    and

    I was under the impression that it was mostly in English.

    Interesting. We had gotten the impression from the previews that it was subtitled and otherwise unintelligible.




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  7. Rick Almeida says:

    Solo and Steven have it right…I just saw SD on Saturday, and I would say less than 15% was subtitled, probably even less than 10%.

    That said, I completely agree with the premise of your post, James. I probably wouldn’t want to see this if it were a well-understood part of my surroundings.




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  8. Matthew Stinson says:

    I’ll add to what others are saying by noting that the subtitles are playfully done, not written in a boring caption style. This made watching the film very breezy, though I say that as someone who enjoys subtitled movies to begin with.




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  9. tom p says:

    Having yet to see Sd Mill, I can only say that James, if you have not yet watched “Das Boot” you are missing out.

    For my ownself, captions are only distracting for the first 15 mins or so.




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  10. sc says:

    The article says “Fox Searchlight executives say they are happy with the film’s performance, pointing out that its weekend take of $2.2 million was the highest for any Fox film released in India, and the third highest for any U.S. release ever in that country — behind Spider-Man 3 and Casino Royale.”

    How is this tanking?




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  11. Mark Jaquith says:

    I’m quite unlikely to get around to watching it any time soon for a different reason: the subtitles.

    It’s only partially subtitled, if that helps. I didn’t find them distracting, and enjoyed the movie.




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  12. Luis says: