The reverberations of Amitabh Bachchan‘s blog comments on the Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire are now being felt in the “cesspool” of Indian journalism.
In his reaction to the movie, Bachchan wrote in January:
“If SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations.”
That prompted a column in The Times of India by its in-house satirist Jug Suraiya on March 2.
Suraiya wrote that the reason people like Bachchan were angry with SM was not because it showed the world how pitifully poor India was, but because it revealed how culpable all of us were in the “continuance of poverty”.
“The real Slumdog divide is not between the haves and the have-nots; it’s between the hopers and the hope-nots: those who hope to cure the disease of poverty by first of all recognising its reality, and those who, dismissing it as a hopeless case, would bury it alive by pretending it didn’t exist.”
All very harmless, boilerplate stuff, but a month later, on April 3, Bachchan chose to respond to Suraiya with a long rejoinder that attacked the journalist.
“I accuse the journalist Jug Suraiya of failing his professional ethical code of conduct by means of wilful error in the collection of facts…. He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself, not only as a professional journalist, but as a human being too. Mere opinion and ill-supported prejudice are contemptible in both species.
“My blog did not ‘spark off the current round of controversy on India’s poverty’… Nor am I ashamed of anything about my country. I may be highly critical in judgement, as any citizen of any nation should be, of the society to which I hold allegiance. In this light, I do not find that material poverty in India is ‘a terrible family secret’ as Jug Suraiya alleges.”
Now, Suraiya has hit back in the latest issue of Magna Carta, the in-house newsletter of the Magna group of publications, which had carried Bachchan’s rejoinder.
(Magna owns the movie magazine Stardust, which led a 15-year-long boycott of Bachchan at the prime of his career.)
In a letter addressed to the Magna group’s proprietor Nari Hira, Jug Suraiya writes:
“The newsletter said there was an ‘eerie silence’ from the press to Bachchan’s rejoinder. This is not quite true. The Guardian newspaper, which Bachchan had cited along with my column, has I am told done a detialed rejoinder to his rejoinder.
“In my case, I did not choose so much to maintain an ‘eerie silence’ as to exercise my option of fastidious disdain: I hold Bachchan beneath my contempt and shall not dignify him with an answer to his rantings (which, I am told, are written for him by an ex-journalist hack).”
Suraiya recounts meeting Bachchan years ago in Calcutta. He says he greatly enjoyed his performances and complimented him on them.
“Since then, of course, he has become an international celebrity who uses his iconic status to endose any and all products from gutka paan masala to cement, cars to suiting. There is a word for such indiscriminate commercial promiscuity. I leave it to you to figure out what it is.
“This together with his much-publicised ritualised religiosity makes him an object of scorn for me, all the more so in that he is, regettably, a role model for so many people of all ages, in India and elsewhere.”
Photograph: courtesy The Times of India
Also read: How Big B has pushed India to a regressive low
hack v whore…
whoop ti do..
I find it beneath me to even comment on this little bitch fight between brainless twits
Arey, lalgarh bagge nu swalpa bareeri sir….
Amitabh B. may not be a great actor but Jug S is definitely not a great journalist. If one is B another is D.
I saw and did not like slumdog movie for portraying india in badlight. Haviing said that, I think amithabh should put his money where his mouth is. For an actor who does not think it is wrong to swindle millions of youngsters of their hard earned money through ABCL, by making false promises of giving them a chance to act in movies, this guy is doing tall talking…probably he could take some inspiration from our own Shivaji Rao Gaekwad aka rajnikanth.
Jug Suraiya, the Associate Editor of that sorry excuse of a newspaper, why did Amitabh even take efforts to write/ghost write a response.
It is really funny that Bachchan claims to care for India’s slums given that he owes the treasury several crores of taxes. 20-25 schools could have been built with all that money Big B owes. Sheer hypocrisy!
SM directors gave lot of “bottle” parties to Indian journalists. So all media people hyped about SM. SM is worst picture that showed India as country of slums and crap. Govt must ban that movie in India once for all.
what do you mean! Slumdog Millionnaire (Jopadpatti Kutta Karodpati) should have been shot in Mukesh Ambani’s mansion??!
Amitabh should be saying thanks, that the British did not make a Movie on the maglik, otherwise he would have difficulty writing in the blog even.
The possible scenarios as seen by ace blogger “india UNCUT”
As part of the Kumbh Vivah, she may have to marry a peepal or banana tree before her marriage with Abhi.
Many possible scenarios exist as to what could happen, none more ridiculous than the news itself.
1. The Peepal tree puts a branch around Aishwarya as soon as the marriage is done, and refuses to let her go.
“She’s my lawfully wedded wife now,” the tree says, “and I’ll have my way with her.”
2. The tree and Aishwarya act in a film together. The tree acts better.
3. In 2014, Aishwarya find her second child eating a sapling. “Stop, Munna,” she screams, “that’s your elder brother you’re eating.”
4. Eventually Aishwarya enters politics. “I’m a Peepal person,” she announces in her first interview.
5. Salman Khan, after valiant efforts to get the Peepal tree’s mobile number, finally gives up.
(Link via email from Arjun Swarup.)
Update: Angshuman writes in:
[R]emember to identify the species of tree when you spot Ash and Abhi running around a tree in a movie. If it’s Peepal, rest assured you are seeing a half-decent musical threesome rather than a harmless romantic song.
Well I saw parts of the SM on Jet Blue but the reception was interrupted I do not wish to see the rest of it- not worth it-it is much hype about nothing. Poverty Porn is a good way to describe it from what I saw–why it won so many oscars? Oscar committee being PC I guess? Moreover the depictions of Hinduism was very negative–but Hinuds are mostly so ignorant of their own religion so it really does not matter.
As for Bachan–I do not care for his comments–Bollywood movies are the worst and and India is a country whose main pastime is watching “soft porn” or bollywood–which caters to the lowest demonimator….Slumdog was bad but Bollywood is even worse! Just a reflection of the sorry state of Indian culture.
So I think both SM and Bollywood are annoying!
India made some good movies once but they are old movies…
After reading your post, swalpa namdu cheddi volge piraablem eyethey!
Swalpa namdu cheddi soil-ge aaageyethe! Nimdu zamzam-du paani-ge kotbidi. Namdhuki cheddi-ge saaf-ge madkotheevi!
Mr. Khan saab..we all know how women are treated and restrictions they have to go through in your religion.
So please don’t comment on sacred practices of other religions in this blog!
Well as I said , those were not my observation but Amit verma of india-“uncut” fame. I just reproduced here.
I did not know it was sacred practice, I always thought that marrying peepal/banana tree, as one off incident.
Sorry for offtopic.
What Khan Saheba was making fun ( if it did really happen ) is called SUPERSTITION not a sacred practice !
Pingback: No poverty of contempt here at Blogbharti
I for one, am happy that we now have a term called Poverty Porn (SFW).
Well I meant to say that it sensationalizes poverty for the Western audience–that is why I did not like the movie. Many people live in slums in Bombay. But many also lead dignified lives and are just people who cannot affort rent in appartments. So “Poverty Porn” means sensationalizing something–Actually it was an elder American friend of mine who used the word to describe the movie and I think it a good description . She has been to India and told me people in slums although poor displayed a lot of dignity and she also did not like the movie…So its not just Indians who did not like the movie. Many movies display touching instances of poverty–this just sensationalizes it for a non-Indian audience.
Moreover not liking slumdog does not mean that one denies poverty in India–just the depiction of it in the movie, just as Bollywood depiction of India is also grotesque….I find Bollywood mostly crude and vulgar and catering to the lowest in terms of culture–you know the arts just reflect the culture of the times….
what is not superstition? including the injunction against superstition? i will anyday take the tree,idol worshiping supersition to the superstition of one prophet, one book belief for atleast it is rooted in here and present and in this life.
for all the pretenses to rationality and these guys like khan are impotent to truely internalize their beliefs. when it comes to it, the best muslim is an arab and the best take on islam is the arab version. anybody who challenges that is stoned – not by arabs but these guys carrying the arab’s burden and acting on his behalf.
you think tree, rat and other animist beliefs are superstition what about jihad, fidayeen, kaafir, pagan, infidel, salvation, harvest, judgement day etc etc?
you go ask, shias are not good enough, ahmedias are not good enough, the ajlaf are not good enough. early mughals were shias, even they were brow beaten by the literalists. in this day and age, ahmediyas are hounded in liberal india, forget pakistan and its treatment of abdus salam.
I don’t know why you felt the need for ad hominem attack, when I clarified already in my post above.
If you do need to talk anything on the matter, you should know am always available. Atleast be coherent in letting me know what exactly is your peeve. I for one did not get what it is, you are jumping all over from Khan to arab, rats to snakes, mughals to shias…..whats wrong with you???
For Khan and TS – very nice logic. Superstition in my faith is supported by superstitions in your faith. No one can beat such logic, a self driven feedback logic; this is what drives religions. Each competing, rival faith is supported by the fallacies in others.
Larissa – I din’t like the movie either, but for different reasons such as loose script, no real character motivations. Why are you so worried about image of India in western eyes? Are you not falling prey to the same guilt of playing for western galleries? Who gives a eff what west thinks of India? We are what we are, ultimately we are the ones living in it. But remember to beat ourselves for what we deserve. Being self critical is very important and that’s the reason why west is how that is and India is how it is. Roads, corruption are symptoms; lack of free and critical thinking are the diseases.
I do not care what the West views India as. But it is Indians who like this movie the most. I also did not like the movie which I did not watch till the end not only because it sensationalizes poverty but for the reasons you state. The Congress party also made it their party’s song! How come they find nothing coming from India their song? Anyway its just a silly movie like all the silly Bollywood stuff. I would be interested if someone were to depict poverty in a very poignant way without sensationalizing it….There are some good movies like Salam Bombay that did this.
TS, all I was saying is that the tree marriage thing is not a sacred practice as Uday Shetty was averring but a superstition. I was neither writing a treatise on superstition nor was in any way supporting any other practices that you so eloquently enumerate.
khan a general rant to a whole lot of issues discussed at churumuri. pardon the length.
khan these issues have comeup again and again here. for example idol worship has been mentioned earlier to ‘highlight’ the ‘obscurantistism’ in hinduism. idol worship is problematic only in the ‘book says so’ logic. by any other metric, it is a very liberal regime. the divinity in everyman’s image and to his convenience.
when i say indian muslims have not internalized islam, i mean this. in india we have had protests when cartoons were drawn, when deccan herald carried a story etc. the reason given is that it was a reaction to the desecration of the ideas in kuran. but to me it appears as if the real issue is that it was a kuffar who did the desecration. when pakistanis and sundry other arabs do it, as they routinely desecrate concepts like jihad(personal struggle it means i am told), for example, there is no sound. till date i have not heard a single street level protest about the vulgarization of an islamic percept by a pakistani or an arab or even an indian muslim(owaisi, madani etc.,), for example. but the activist islamists in india, have routinely mimicked the arabs and wannabe arabs aka pakistanis in their sense of urgency in hounding out ahamediyas and nasreen for example.
the only seminal contribution of effect to islam from india has been by the deoband and people like maududi. each competing with the other in outdoing the literalism of the arabs. forget these guys, even the benign and noble sufis like chisti have on occasion invoked the concept of kaafir.
i am sure there are local progressives – like the tippu dargah who repulsed the tableeghis. but what is their reach, beyond even bangalore?
it is not that muslims are not capable of progressive ideas. the persians have for ages now have done that. but how many take inspiration in the persian thought? even in india which is perhaps the second biggest shia nation after iran? even in india there have been, continue to be, many muslim poets who have done this. but they have to hide and camouflage their intentions. in poetry for example, they frequently use saaqi as a metaphor to the issues that actually burn them. why? for the fear of islamists. i have sat through turkish poetry sessions, didn’t find anything our own poets have not already explored.
in india islam has been a nitya satya for more than thousand years now. but where is the indian ownership of it? in deference to our history, we go to OIC, and it pisses on us for kashmir. iranians and the iraqis support us, but the rest of the uummah pisses on us. where is the indian muslim outrage? why should only hindus fight for kashmir? if islam is such a big part of india, why dont the indian muslims revolt against the na-pak designs of pakistan?
hinduism has a thousand flaws. but every single one of them is open to contemporary scrutiny by all and sundry, irrespective of their religious beliefs. where is the concomitant local scrutiny and innovation in indian islam? i would have thought being a part of country like india, the humongous population of indian muslims would have seized the initiative on forming the global muslim narrative. yeah sure indonesia has a bigger population, but we have bigger historical/civilizational/economical impetus right? imagine the power and pull of a muslim leader in india who takes on the regressive designs of the arabs and stands up for india. but no, the best india has to offer is AR Antulay and Owaisi and Madani. but no, our people are still playing second fiddle to two bit nomads from the middle eastern deserts. is it any wonder that we cheddis have our flies out?
these are all vague, intagible ideas. lets take simple ideas like population growth. in south india, according to sachhar report, muslims are far behind any other minority even in south india, forget bihar and up.
the point i am making is, for all the legacy and historic claims, where is proportionate sense of responsibility and ownership amongst indian muslims?
Thanks for reposing in my belief, that just my avatar of “Khan” will bring out the all the grievances, real or imaginary or was it concerns for Muslims!
Anyway, your lack of understanding of Islam or history betrays when you says Indian Muslims look upto arabs. This is just laughable at best, Arab leadership political as well as religious, was lost within 200 years of Islam. The center of Islam was shifted first to Central asia like Bukhara, samarkhand and then to India and Egypt(curtasy Chengiz Khan). Egypt mind you is arab culturally only. India looking upto Arabs in matter concerning to Islam is Cheddi imagination of highest order.. Maybe you should look up what Deoband and Baraely means other than city names.
You conveniently suggest “muslim leaders” like so many Cons and cheddi, coz that is how you want to project Muslims as. Each one ows their existance to con-ress, otherwise they would be dumped long back. Anyway if suits you be my guest, muslims have long fogive these notion of leadership.
Hindus only fight for Kashmir?? Hindus only fought in Kargil??
Do you expect me to reply to these drivel???
Thanks for saving from replying on Hinduism, by your cunning statement of “hinduism has Thousnad flaws”, otherwise I would have difficluty in where to start. just kidding, am not here for that and however provocative statements would not induce me into that slugfeasst.
Your phoney mumbo jumbo of legacy, responsibilty, ownership, historical claims, homogeneous Muslim….. is just that mumbo jumbo of MBA speak, without understanding what each meansin the context.
If you ever understand any of these and dwell on it again, then definitely I will respond. When you listen these in Shakas, next time please try to understand what it means, rather than rushing to post here. Otherwise your post as it is, nothing but verbal diarrhea and intellectual constipation
doode. i know soldiers of the indian army of all religion fight in kashmir. i am talking about islamists. today deoband promptly reacted to sarkozy. all i am asking is what about kashmir? why is the idea of kashmir to be
please look up maududi and deoband, if my memory serves right variants of the hanafi school. i would be glad if IM didnot look upto arabs. but that claim flies in the face of evidence. for example, there is this concept of ashraf and ajlaf. beyond that the amount of borrowed angst about issues in middle east. the hounding of ahmediyas. the prompt shedding of akbar and dara sikoh’s legacy in favour of the literalism etc. etc.,
>>India looking upto Arabs in matter concerning to Islam is Cheddi imagination of highest order>>
Should it not have been Indian mosies looking up to Arabia….which by the way is a fact..muslims all over the world are nothing but foot soldiers for Saudi Arabian expansionist designs…people like Khan routinely subscribe to this and try their best to be beduoinoids in spirit and action. Read Anwar Sheikhs insightful articles on this subject.
What other explanation can be there for a docile country like Indonesia suddenly becoming a rabid islamist country, after the mushrooming of Saudi funded mosques/madrassas and constant brain washing.