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Good 'Slumdog' Bad 'Slumdog'

February 10, 2009

Re "The 'Slumdog' fight," Opinion, Feb. 4

Thank you a thousand times, Chitra Divakaruni, for putting "Slumdog Millionaire" in correct perspective for its Indian critics.

Unfortunately, accustomed to low-quality Bollywood movies with their dancing girls and fancy mansions, many such critics are divorced from the reality that about 300 million of their brethren in India live in poverty.

When will these better-off Indians ask themselves why such a shameful state exists after 60 years of independence, so it can be corrected?

And for heaven's sake, "Slumdog" is a feature film -- an excellent work of art -- and not a documentary about the slums of Mumbai.

Ashok Sharma

La Canada Flintridge

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I take issue with this Op-Ed article. Divakaruni argues, among other things, that the film is being judged as "poverty porn" and not as art.

Where I differ with her is on this question of art. "Slumdog Millionaire" doesn't deal with the subject of rags-to-riches in an artful way. It offers a fantasy solution to the horrors of children's exploitation -- a poor boy winning millions by being a TV contestant.

Art should offer new ways of seeing, not just present graphic images of an old vision of poverty.

Too often, Hollywood movies offer us sensation instead of moving and insightful material.

Peggy Aylsworth Levine

Santa Monica

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