“We don’t want to watch the film, we live the life it shows.” This is what youngsters in the Juhu slum where Slumdog Millionaire was shot said when told the film had won four Golden Globes.
“I prefer love stories and action. I like Ghajini. Dostana and Race,” says Surajit Pal (19) who works in a medical shop. “I'm not interested in seeing the film.”
“I’m not interested in seeing this kind of movie either,” says Vikas Mishra (21), who is in his second year of a diploma course in mechanical engineering at University of Mumbai and lives in the slum. “Because I stay in this life, I would rather see Terminator, Matrix or The Omen. I prefer American films because I am more interested in seeing their life.”
“I don't like living here,” Vikas adds. “It’s not a nice place to stay — I’m studying and there is a lot of noise. Last year some builder broke down many of the properties. But what else can we do? We don't have any choice. People from England, Germany and France should see the film as maybe they will think of helping us, but I don’t think people from India will find it interesting.”
Anand Devender (14), who saw the whole shoot, takes us up a dark alley with blue-washed walls against which lines of washing are hanging against. Anand crouches down on a door-step imitating urinating and says: “This is where one boy had to urinate.”
Vikas explains they all have toilets in their homes.
Housewife Rasati Kumar (22) says she washed laundry for the film outside her house.
“My dog Sandy also featured,” she says pointing at the sandy coloured dog asleep on her doorstep. “And a goat. They also filmed on the terrace above us. It was fun,” she adds.
Ravi Kumar (24), the chaiwallah in a small stall opposite the Mariyamman temple, gets nostalgic about the film crew. “They were all friendly. I enjoyed it.”
Well, on just one day in 2007, he served the film crew 1,000 cups of tea — each cup costs Rs 6. He was also paid to appear in the film.