Not that I'm a thorough-bred critic of anything (don't get me wrong, I can get extremely critical when I have to), especially films, music, fiction or literature and theatre- I personally am all for them as means of entertainment/inspiration first and intellectuall stimulation later, hence criticising for being to normal, or too "popular" is in my eyes very unjust and something extremely specific and elitest... but, I have i question nonetheless:
Why is it that only movies made on the predicament of the so-called urban Indian society become famous and "represent" (note how I am not using the term loosely) the "flavour"of India in the western paradigm? Am I wrong in presuming that Slumdog Millionaire has gained popularity in the US only because a) the orient is exotic, and India is now at the centre of the orient, totally ignoring it's economical at-par-with-the-US, if you will, development. And b) because it represents the slum of Mumbai and the boy's success becomes a symbol of the success of the Indiam slum, which btw is also something "intriguing and exotic" for the westerners.
I could be wrong. I am myself an embodiment of the growing, urban, globalised youth, dependant on a lifestyle that is nothing close to an ideal Indian lifestyle. But I have been noticing that every movie that gains popularity with the west has something to do with the stereotypical image of India. I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire, and let me clarify, I'm sure it is a decent movie, infact I am tempted to go watch it without a critical approach, but I can't help but bring forth this sudden realisation. If I'm not wrong, it deals with a boy from the slums, and has undertones of the BPO style of living- an image that slowly started to define Indian youth. I am yet to find one movie/book that gained popularity among the west because of it's plot, storyline in universality , and not something that is distinctively Indian: seen with Shantaram, Slumdog Millionaire and the lot.
I may be wrong, but this is just something I noticed. I need to go watch the movie before I can further comment. To clarify, I am sure the movie is brilliant, and I personally loved Shantaram, I just hate to see it getting popular only by virtue of it being innately "Indian" hence exotic.
P.s- Edward Said, you have screwed me up.