SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE directed by Danny Boyle won an astounding 8 Academy Awards and out of that 3 Awards went to Indians. This movie, glorifying the slum life accompanied by exceptional music, put the urban slums of Bombay and Indians musicians A.R. Rahman and Rosul Pookutty on the world stage. The Britishman, Danny Boyle, and others who acted in the movie raked in the money,name and fame. But nothing has changed for the slum dwellers of Bombay or for that matter for the slum dwellers living in innumerable slums in the cities and towns all over India.
Here in the heart of Kochi we have SLUMDOG BILLIONAIRES. They are living in Manapattiparambu which is normally rented out to touring circuses. No one takes notice of them. They have come from Delhi to make a living. They live in ramshackle tents. They live here, cook here, eat here and sleep here. Their children don’t study and from a very young age they are taught to be self dependent. The dirt, filth and squalor will put any one off. They get kits for small drums from Delhi, assemble them here and sell it in the busy streets of Kochi. If they can get a business worth Rs.1000 a day they will make a profit of Rs.200 US$4). The old and infirm will beg to earn a lively hood. The children will generally learn the trade of their fathers i.e. to make drums and sell them.
I understand that 3 children belonging to these hapless people were stolen a few days back. There is no police complaint or police investigation or even a report in the news papers. You can imagine the anguish of the parents who lost their children. Those of you who have seen SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE will know what happens to abducted children. In the movie one abducted child is drugged , blinded and made to beg on the road. The begging money will, of course, be taken by the gang leader. What will be the fate of these 3 children. It is anybody’s guess..
Now hold your breathe and take a look at the life and living conditions of these SLUMDOG BILLIONAIRES in Kochi town.
Please meet the director of SLUMDOG BILLIONAIRE, PULIKOTIL THOMAS JOSEPH.
I was a bit apprehensive while taking photos of children because I could have been assaulted by these desperate people who might have thought that I have come there to abduct their children. In fact, one little girl screamed and told the other children to run and hide themselves. One girl covered her face. One little boy stood there bravely and challenged me to take his photo. Thank God I was not attacked.