The Indian Foreign Service officer, Vikas Swarup, may have written a page-turner called Q & A in 2005. But it was only three years later that both the author and his novel shot into limelight when the story was adapted by the British director, Danny Boyle. His Slumdog Millionaire catapulted an absolutely unknown Indian face, Freida Pinto, to international stardom, even as the film garnered 10 Oscar nods in 2009 and went on to actually win eight, including one for Best Picture and another for Best Director.
Slumdog Millionaire plots the rise of a penniless waiter after he wins huge prize money in a Mumbai quiz contest. The movie attracted very different kinds of reactions: while some adored it, some hated it, describing it as a vulgar celebration of poverty.
Now, the UK-based The Unity of Faiths Foundation – which strives to bring about greater rapport between various communities – plans to give a fresh impetus to Swarup’s book by organising a bus procession and a torch ceremony in London this Friday. The events will begin in the city’s Southall with 100 schoolchildren led by Swarup participating.
The Foundation hopes that by inculcating the values of respect and mutual understanding in the young, the future community would be free of communal tension and rancour.
The procession will be followed by the Unity of Faiths Festival in London on Sunday.