The Instigator
chloeis
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
baggins
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Slumdog Millionaire Portrays Poverty and Affluence Well

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
chloeis
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 20,050 times Debate No: 8191
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)

 

chloeis

Pro

This movie shows it is possible to succeed in a world where money dominates while respecting rights and caring for morals. Slumdog Millionaire is reminiscent of Forrest Gump both in sequence of the movie and the morals. Forrest Gump does not originate from a wealthy family and he had been severely crippled by his learning ability. His mother exchanged sex for his acceptance to a public school. It shows that wherever you come from, you will always be hindered by obstacles. What is admirable is overcoming those bumps on the road courageously and with determination. It shows that you can become rich and successful by being truthful and loyal. Both Gump and Malik pursued a childhood friend who was the sole reason for their actions. The obvious difference is that Forrest Gump led a life of affluence while Jamal Malik lived in poverty. It shows the huge income gap worldwide. There are those who could afford buying the love of one's life while many struggle on affording basic necessities being waiters and beggars.

‘Slumdog Millionaire' may not be based on a real story, but the story told through Jamal happens commonplace. Other than the ending where Jamal wins ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire', the film is as realistic as it could be while entertaining the audience. Indians inhabiting slums rarely attend school because they are too poor to travel into the city to go public schools. So, that special recognition is given to those who actually succeed. Those who do eventually find a way out of the slums do it through school. The rest will find themselves impoverished while trying to make a livelihood. Soon enough, the lack of entertainment and excitement as well as growing contempt for their existence causes them to break out in fights. Gangs are formed and drugs are smuggled to be sold for a better life. For them, dealing drugs and doing other activities in the black market are the easiest way to go from penniless to prosperous.

Although some Indians see the poverty and crime in the slums and know the circumstances of people's lives there, they chose to blame the poor. They want to be kept away from what is happening the slums while refusing to take responsibility for being users of illegal substances that has led the expansion of drug trafficking and urban violence. By telling the story of Mumbai from a low-class point of view, the viewers are taken to the extremes of emotions from hopelessness to redemption. The feelings of truly living to survive were captured.

Conditions in the slums are getting worse with every day and so, Boyle set about to create an understanding as to why slums are the way they are for the world. Boyle wanted them to see that the poor do not want to be lowlives and steal from the rich. He knew the only way to do that was by exploring the reasons as to what makes a violent criminal. Even from the beginning, Jamal is portrayed as a honest, caring boy. Later on, he is shown to steal belongings of tourists. Jamal may not not reached the extreme which his brother, Salim, does by shooting carelessly, however, he does regret his shameful past.
baggins

Con

Thanks for starting the debate.

You have said:


‘Slumdog Millionaire' may not be based on a real story, but the story told through Jamal happens commonplace. "


You are wrong. There are indeed major problem associated with slums - but the way the film looks at it is highly unrealistic and motivated. I will come back to the motivation part later. First let me tell you the real story and the associated tragedy of Indian slums. The tragedy, which has been glossed over by the movie.

Why people live in slums? Many people who live in slums do have the option of going back to villages. However they prefer cities because of better economic opportunities. Problem is - the real estate in cities like Mumbai is beyond the reach of - say a taxi driver. Hence the slums.

A slum is a whole society. There are human beings living in slums. Some people are bad. Naturally there is crime also. However most people are helpful and friendly. This is especially true about Mumbai - which is having its own unique culture - it welcomes everyone and values hard work.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of slums is that most children are unable to get proper education. The government has opened schools for them - but there are several issues. These schools are often substandard. Many children are unable to attend school because of family conditions. Sometimes some tragedy in family forces them earn living from very young age. Even if they do study, the lack of personal space makes it difficult to do well. These factors often lead to vicious circle of poverty and lack of education.

However there have been many gains over time. The biggest one is that most people now realize the importance of education - and are consequently ready to make sacrifices for its sake. There is a growing pressure on government to pay more attention to education. Even children who are forced to work often know what is at stake and continue their education in whatever form they can. This is the real story of slums in India - hard issues ignored by the movie in favor of crime.

There is a common perception in India that the movie has shown India the way people in west want to look at it - rather than focusing on the real India. Sure India has many problems. We are not in denial about it. (And we definitely don't blame the poor for it). But we are together, struggling hard against it. And I hope we are continuously winning newer victories. That I think is the story of modern India. However I suspect, making a movie about this would not be a financially viable option for a Hollywood director.

The movie focuses too much on crime, which though present, is not that common. Permit me to post the comments of a reviewer (http://www.rediff.com...)


Say an Indian director travelled to New Orleans for a few months to film a movie about Jamal Martin, an impoverished African American who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, who once had a promising basketball career, but who -- following a drive-by shooting -- now walks with a permanent limp, whose father is in jail for selling drugs, whose mother is addicted to crack cocaine, whose younger sister was killed by gang-violence, whose brother was arrested by corrupt cops, whose first born child has sickle cell anaemia, and so on. The movie would be widely panned and laughed out of theatres.


It is not surprising that an organization of slum dwellers filed a blasphemy case against the movie for misrepresenting the conditions in slums. (http://www.thewest.com.au...)

The motion is "Slumdog Millionaire Portrays Poverty and Affluence Well". It definitely does not represent affluence. My contention is that its representation of poverty is unrealistic and cliched.
Debate Round No. 1
chloeis

Pro

Surprisingly, poverty and its reality does not - as many assume - wipe all fantasy, hope, and spirit from a person. Jamal Malik's life is proof of that. It is the quintessential fantasy of a rags-to-riches story that rings close to home for many who wish to live a life with less difficulties even if only financially. Its predictability enables it to be a sweet film that speaks on subjects that the Western world are not used to. Jamal's story has an unbelievability ultimately due to the fact that it was never meant to be written as an expose of slumdogs, but a modern love story. So deeply entrenched in the story line is the fact that life "is written" and so, it shall be. Truthfully, Slumdog Millionaire is popular because the cinematic world was ready for a fairy tale. This films will have theatre-goers leaving with a lifted spirit and that inspirational feeling that changes one's outlook on global issues and one's life.

As much as it seems like common sense to realize that India is not one big slum, there are many who do not realize that ask if there are computers and cars there. Whenever India is portrayed negatively in the media, it is hard to think fantastic. It is understandable that people become offended that slums are shown in such an extreme, however, the film clearly shows that those living in the slums are not entirely destitute and depressing. People had lives and were happy.

Indian poverty is a subject�already addressed. Slumdog Millionaire�is not the first movie about a�child growing up in the slums of Bombay. There was one ten years ago called Salaam Bombay, it was also nominated for an Oscar and was made by an Indian director. This also is not the first movie to feature religious riots, the Indian mafia, or child prostitution. Good filmmaking is a matter of combining the right elements in the right ways such that the combination is above and beyond what has been done before. In the storytelling, the movie excels. Boyle treats poverty and those who live in it as individuals with their own, unique stories quite like us, not faceless objects to be pitied.
with where they were. Although, in general, conditions can be improved.

Approximately 13.5 percent Canadian adults are likely to experience depression at some point during their lifetime because they are overwhelmed by the events in their daily lives. All the countless issues we complain about are relatively insignificant compared to what people in poverty in countries like India experience. We have been accustomed to a very materialistic life where our low income cut-off line is approximately $22 000. What we think is a basic need seems to be a luxury in these slums. One comes to realize that there was something more that Jamal's story can teach. We should not forget that love, friendship, freedom, and family is of so much value. But anyone from the slums are already aware of the ingenuity, entrepreneurial skills and family bonds that they each rely on to thrive under conditions that would break most of us. It reassured me that it is truly worth the fight to make sure we never forget to live our lives the way we are intended to. That we need to believe in the ethics of humanity, show responsibility towards nature and life around us, treasuring the little things and moments that life has to entail, have hope, and the willingness to sacrifice.

Not to give away the plot of the movie for those who have yet to watch it, Jamal's story will take you on a journey where you could not help, but wonder how fortunate most North Americans are in our lives, yet we fail to appreciate all the niceties that life has to offer.
baggins

Con

I had argued that the movie does not reflect the poverty in slums realistically. I feel that you have not answered this objection at all.

You have accepted that India is not all slums. But that is not what I said at all. My contention was - the movie does not reflect the life in slums well. It exaggerates crime - rather than focus on real problems faced by most people.

You have written in great detail about the lessons we can learn from the movie. Assuming that the movie is a fairy tale - I agree. On other hand at least a part of movie's appeal lies in the assumption that it reflects the conditions in Indian slums. Problem is - this part is complete fiction - feeding on stereotypes.

I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I found it dull. Other people have made better and more realistic movie on poverty (and crime) in India. Salaam Bombay is a case in point. However that is not the issue of this debate.
Debate Round No. 2
chloeis

Pro

It's not a documentary. It's a story. It's meant to be all that realistic either. Just look at the most ridiculous part of all: every single question relates directly to one of the events in his life in chronological order. But it's just a movie. It's not supposed to be "the typical life of a kid growing up in the slums." It's supposed to be a grand, amazing story of a kid who's been through unbelievable misery and miraculously lives happily ever after. It's just a story, it requires you to suspend your belief, but it never claimed to be the truth.

Like I have stated, Indian poverty is not a taboo subject that no one is supposed to address. This isn't the first movie about a kid growing up in the slums of Bombay. There was one ten years ago called Salaam Bombay, it was also nominated for an Oscar and was made by an Indian director, and IMO was more realistic and more depressing than Slumdog. This also isn't the first movie to feature religious riots, or the Indian mafia, or child prostitution. So I don't see why Slumdog Millionaire is criticized for depicting these things when it is not a new subject; several other movies, made by Indians, have shown these things. Yes, India is not just poverty, yes it is becoming a world power, yes yes yes. However, that does not mean that you cannot talk about existing poverty too. In fact, 10 million of 18 million who live in Mumbai live in slums. The film takes place there and does not discuss any other parts of India.

In 1993 - when Jamal would have been 5 years old - over 55% of Mumbai's population lived in slums. The anti-muslim raid portrayed in the movie was based on several real events. While it may be unlikely that the full collection of events that occurs in Slumdog Millionaire would happen to any one person, it has all happened to someone or other - not that that means life in the slums is like that for everyone, but it's there. Denying the presence of such things would be like saying the United States is a rich country, thus, there is no poverty here. Also, as there is child prostitution in the U.S., Canada, Europe, etc, there is child prostitution in India. Nowhere in the film does it claim that such issues as rampant problems that is consuming India.

People are becoming offended that they showed the slums at an extreme, but it is irrating that they look past the fact that the film clearly showed that it was not destitute and depressing, and that people had lives and were happy with where they were. True, conditions could be improved, but it was not all doom and gloom
baggins

Con

This time you have at least tried to answer my objections - though wrong ones. You have said that Indian poverty is not a taboo subject. People are being far too reactive.

I do not have a problem if someone wants to depict Indian poverty. Naturally we are neither happy nor proud about that. However it is a challenge before us - and people who depict poverty actually help us by reminding us about the task ahead. Actually there is a small problem. There is a perception that it is the only thing being highlighted. However, that is not a very big issue.

However my assertion is - the movie has ignored the real problems associated with poverty. Drugs, gangs, sexual abuse, religious fascism do exist. But these are not the real problems facing the majority. The real problems - like education, health care - all of which contribute in making poverty such a vicious circle - are glossed over. The reasons - I suspect are financial. This is not a problem with Slumdog Millionaire alone but many other movies in this genre.

Agreed movies are not documentaries. However there are different kind of movie. The makers of Slumdog Millionaire cannot indulge in the kind of fancy present in movie like Cinderella. However let us go back to the topic of this debate.


Slumdog Millionaire Portrays Poverty and Affluence Well


We are debating whether Slumdog Millionaire portrays poverty and affluence well. You have already conceded that it does not represent affluence at all. This movie misrepresents poverty by exaggerating crime and ignoring real problems. Certainly you can argue it is only a movie. But then you concede my point.
Debate Round No. 3
chloeis

Pro

Slumdog Millionaire showed glimpses of the affluence in India by displaying the gangster's rich house and the expensive TV, studio, et cetera. As India rises out above its poverty, so do the poor. When Salim casts his hand across the soaring skyline of modern Mumbai, he can say honestly, "India is at the center of the world." In this the scene, Jamal meets his brother following work at a call centre. Ultimately, the film focuses on the poverty existent in slums because that is where the characters originate from. Poverty is an integral part of the story as Jamal overcomes obstacles presented by a low-class background.

This movie reiterates the possibilities of succeeding in a world where money dominates while respecting rights and caring for morals. Slumdog Millionaire is reminiscent of Forrest Gump both in the sequence of the movie and the morals. Forrest Gump does not originate from a wealthy family and he had been severely crippled by his learning ability. His mother exchanged sex for his acceptance to a public school while Jamal and Salim's mother could not afford necessities. Single earner families' disparities as compared to two parent families is noticeable. It shows that wherever you come from, you will always be hindered by obstacles. What is admirable is overcoming those bumps courageously and with determination. You can become happy and fulfilled by being truthful and loyal. Both Gump and Malik pursued a childhood friend who was the sole motivation for their actions. The obvious difference is that Forrest Gump thrived while Jamal Malik survived in poverty. It shows the wideness of the income gap worldwide. In Canada, we need a minimum of $22 000 to live while worldwide, people need only $15 000 to be considered to be high-income.

By telling the story of Mumbai from a low-class point of view, the viewers are taken to the extremes of emotions from hopelessness to redemption. A message of movie is that intelligence and love is not the exclusive privilege of only the wealthy and educated. The feelings of truly living to survive were captured.

Conditions in the slums are not improving significantly, and Boyle set about to create an understanding as to why slums are the way they are for the world. Boyle wanted them to see that the poor do not want to be lowlives and steal from the rich. He knew the only way to do that was by exploring the reasons as to what makes a violent criminal. Even from the beginning, Jamal is portrayed as a honest, caring boy. Later on, he is shown use cheap tricks to take of advantage of tourists at the Taj Mahal. Jamal may not not reached the extreme which his brother, Salim, does by shooting carelessly, however.

It is a reminder to everyone that they can and should be responsible for the conditions of their society on some level, regardless of the country they currently inhabit.
baggins

Con

You have said:


By telling the story of Mumbai from a low-class point of view, the viewers are taken to the extremes of emotions from hopelessness to redemption. A message of movie is that intelligence and love is not the exclusive privilege of only the wealthy and educated. The feelings of truly living to survive were captured.


I am glad you found the story engrossing and inspiring. However you are confusing an inspiring story with a realistic story.

Only recently, I saw Kung Fu Panda (http://en.wikipedia.org...). It is an animation story where blundering 'Po the Panda' goes on to become Kung Fu master. It is an inspiring and entertaining story. However everyone will laugh at me if I say that Kung Fu Panda portrays Kung Fu well!

You have mentioned the gangster's house and expensive TV. Is that what you mean by a successful portrayal of affluence?

You have also said:


Conditions in the slums are not improving significantly


Although it appears as a bit of digression, I think I must address it. Conditions in slums are improving significantly. However I agree that they are not improving as fast as we would like it to.

You have concluded:


It is a reminder to everyone that they can and should be responsible for the conditions of their society on some level, regardless of the country they currently inhabit.


While we may not agree at all about the movie, I agree completely with the moral.
Debate Round No. 4
chloeis

Pro

The way in which Slumdog Millionaire has brought the issue of global poverty into the spotlight exposing our collective squeamishness with having images of it thrown in our face by a film. Since India has advanced to become a global power, all things Western, especially Western culture has been tabooed. Indeed, "Slumdog" is used as the latest example of attacks on Western ideas or symbols of Western culture.

All in all, it is a movie more about image than substance. It vividly showing audiences who have not faced poverty and hardship the lives that many in this world are compelled to lead allows it to be more than just a film. It ends up being a story that will open most audiences' eyes to something new – hopefully bringing tangible benefits to the world's poor while eliciting an honest introspection about what people often must and can do without.
baggins

Con

I am unable to understand your last post at all. It appears to be totally disconnected to your earlier posts or my objections. For example what do you mean by:


"Slumdog" is used as the latest example of attacks on Western ideas or symbols of Western culture."


Also what is the meaning of this movie being more 'image than substance'? Is it a concession?

---

In this debate 'the pro' has praised the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire' as an inspiring movie with important morals. I agree with the morals completely - even though I found the movie dull. However that is not the topic of debate. In this regard - I am afraid, my opponent has lost focus. Consequently my objections have been left unaddressed.

My main objections are that this movie portrays neither poverty nor affluence correctly.

While depicting poverty this movie exaggerates crime, and ignores real problems in slums. Moreover it feeds into the incorrect western stereotypes about poverty in Indian. Some attempt was made to counter the second part of the statement. It was argued that poverty in India exists and it is not a taboo to discuss it. Absolutely correct. But my focus was on 'incorrect' part. I would have no problem, had the movie correctly depicted the poverty in India.

As far as depiction of affluence is concerned, no clear argument was presented at all. So I assume that this point has already been conceded.

The result of this debate should be clear - VOTE CON.

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I would like to thank chloeis for the excellent debate. Best of luck for the voting period and future debates.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by chloeis 8 years ago
chloeis
thanks for voting guysss appreciate it ! ps never thought people would even look hah =D
Posted by baggins 8 years ago
baggins
But not very popular. I suppose the two things are related :(
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Looks like a pretty decent debate so far.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 8 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
o0o and if it were 3rounds id prolly taken it right away
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 8 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
http://www.lingoz.com... definition of slumdog

definition of affluence http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

definiton of millionairehttp://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

definition of portray http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

definition of well S: (n) well (a deep hole or shaft dug or drilled to obtain water or oil or gas or brine)

could be fun if i could figure out how to word this to make a sensible argument
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
Not that I want to go 5 rounds on this thing, but I'd probably go for something along the lines of no film, not even a documentary, has the ability to portray anything accurately, which would be the definition of "well" in this case.

All films are "hollywoodized," and created with some sort of agenda, and so all films will exhibit fictional or manipulated situations. Audiences may think that they are seeing an accurate portrayal of the world, but they are only getting the director's birds eye view of a given circumstance.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Seems more like a school project crafted into a debate. I don't really see a suitable CON argument that doesn't revolve around a semantic argument.
Posted by rangersfootballclub 8 years ago
rangersfootballclub
well thats what the mvoie sort of was going it , is that not obvious ?
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Well - A device used to draw water out of. Using such a definition could win it for con.
Posted by Maikuru 8 years ago
Maikuru
Sheesh, spoiler alert.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by thejudgeisgod 8 years ago
thejudgeisgod
chloeisbagginsTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by brycef 8 years ago
brycef
chloeisbagginsTied
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Total points awarded:06