Mumbai slums protest against "Slumdog"

MUMBAI Tue Feb 3, 2009 1:10pm GMT

1 of 4. Residents of Dharavi, Asia's largest shanty town, display posters and placards as they protest against the producers of film 'Slumdog Millionaire' in Mumbai, February 3, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Dozens of residents of a Mumbai slum where "Slumdog Millionaire" was partly shot protested against the Oscar-nominated film on Tuesday, hurling insults and hitting pictures of its cast and crew with slippers.

The movie's international success has been tempered by objections in India to the name, which some slum dwellers find offensive, its depiction of the lives of impoverished Indians and the treatment of the cast.

Its director, Danny Boyle, has faced accusations from some parts of the Indian media that his film was "poverty porn." Boyle has said he was trying to capture Mumbai's "lust for life."

The film, which has scooped several international awards and won 10 Oscar nominations, opened in India last month.

"They have made a mockery of us, they have hurt our sentiments," said N.R. Paul, a protest leader and resident in Dharavi, Asia's largest slum.

The protesters, who were forced by policemen to assemble a few hundred metres from Dharavi, shouted "Down, down Danny Boyle" and "Down, down Censor Board."

"Slum dwellers are human beings, not dogs," said one poster.

Protesters also slapped pictures of Boyle and the film's actors with slippers, saying their depiction of poverty was demeaning to millions.

"They should change at least the title. Why did our Censor Board allow such a title in India? It is very sad," said Kallubhai Qureshi, a resident in Dharavi.

Nicholas Almeida, a social activist and slum dweller who has filed a complaint in a local court against the title, said the filmmakers also had a responsibility towards the slums in which they shot the movie.

"It is making so many millions of dollars, why can't they spend some money here to improve our lives?" said Almeida.

Boyle and producer Christian Colson, responding to comments in the Daily Telegraph recently that slum kids in the film were paid poorly, have said they have paid for their education in a school and set up a fund to cover other expenses.

(Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Paul Tait )

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