Slumdog Millionaire may have raked in Rs 800 crore at the box office, but the lives of the people living in the slum where the film was shot, remains unchanged.
At Nehru Nagar in Juhu on Tuesday, half-naked children ran around, teenagers played cricket in a fly-ridden rubbish dump and housewives sat crouched in their doorsteps.
Most had heard of the Oscar hit, shot in their alleys, but few had seen it. Paanwalla Mahabala Moolaya (48) said he worked from 5 am to midnight and did not have time to see it.
“I would like to see it because it has won so many Oscars and it’s about a poor person becoming rich. But I don’t have the money,” said 15-year-old Akash Sagar.
“If they had done a screening in this slum, I would have gone,” said student Vikas Mishra (21), a student from Bihar. He sleeps on the floor of an illegal one-bedroom house with his two uncles and nephew. “Since they have made Rs 800 crore, the producer should give money to the people here and arrange to make our houses legal,” he added.
“When they did the shooting here, we thought it would be a flop, so we helped them and did not ask for any money. Now they have made so much profit, the director should give money for the children to go to school and we would also like to have toilet facilities in each house,” said Purushottan Gupta (31), a cook.
The distributor, Fox STAR, said it did not arrange for any screening at the slum and was not aware of any NGO being set up using the film’s profits.