Considering the usual subject matter of this blog, some people might say, “Huh?” But this won’t the first time I’ve mentioned Arundhati Roy in this blog, and I’ve continued to say (as in my ever-changing “About” page) that I reserve the right to stray from the more precise present focus of the blog now and then). Besides, I started to think of Arundhati Roy again thanks to a recent post at Memsaab’s blog on a film that Arundhati made in the ’80s, and I’ve been watching a few clips of her since I read that post, coincidentally on Arundhati’s birthday. (And by the way, when I double-checked on that birthday, I was also reminded that she was born the same year as I was, so she is very close to me in age – just six weeks younger.) Now, I’ve started to realize that I don’t like her to the same degree that I used to in the old days (back when I was actually more politically active, in “anti-globalization” protests, etc.) – I like her MORE! In interviews such as the one below, I love just about everything she says. (I also have to admit that I think she looks quite stunning now – much better than she looked before, possibly because of the grey hairs, which add some great character to her appearance.)
Pertinent to the subject of films, I particularly like something that she says while discussing Slumdog Millionaire, i.e., where she mentions that this movie ”made poverty in India look like a natural phenomenon, as though it had been created by a thunderstorm, for which no one was responsible.” This connects to my own criticism of the film – especially when people try to praise it for its social consciousness… I decided not to go into the matter too much here, but I have commented extensively on some other blogs, where I pointed out that it does not explore a social/collective solution to the horrors that it shows (never mind a social cause); instead, it indulges in an individualist and escapist fantasy. One thing that draws me to many of the old Golden Age and pre-Golden Age Bollywood movies is that they do explore social/collective solutions (connected, of course, to the socialism that was very much in the public discourse at that time and place). Keeping this in mind, when some critics talked about how Slumdog Millionaire was willing to engage social criticism that Bollywood would not get into, I had to laugh (in addition to getting annoyed).
So, now that I have shown some relevance to the basic subject of this blog, here is one of many excellent interview excerpts that I’ve found during the past day or so…
P.S. Unfortunately, in order to publish this date-relevant post in a timely manner, I had to put aside thoughts about changing the image header for now. But the way this blog’s template is designed, the image headers can make things a bit confusing sometimes. So, just to clarify, I would like to note that the woman in the image header is NOT Arundhati Roy!