This is similar to nationwide patterns of Indian students in the United States – males far exceed females.
Most Indian students (like most international students) who study in the United States are graduate students.
As of 2001, Hindus made up 80.4% (828 million people) of the population, 13.4% (138 million people) for Muslims, and 2.3% for Christians. Other important religions include Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
Most of respondents from South India are from the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu provinces. Most of the respondents from West India are from the Maharashtra province. Most respondents from North India are from the capital, New Delhi, or Uttar Pradesh province.
Generally speaking, Indian respondents (all of whom have interacted extensively with Americans as students) have positive impressions of Americans. They strongly think they are honest and inventive. Small percentages of respondents view Americans as rude and immoral.
The items for impressions of Americans was based on a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2005. The following slides contain comparisons between the Indian sample from the Slumdog Millionaire survey in comparison to 16 national groups (including India).Indian students in comparison to other nationalities are far less likely to perceive Americans as rude.
Indian students more than any national group, even Americans, consider Americans to be honest. Furthermore, Indian students are far more likely than the Indian national sample to consider Americans honest. What might this imply regarding stereotypes?
Indian students are the least likely of any national group to associate violence with Americans. In fact, Indian students are about half as likely to associate Americans with violence as Americans.
Indian students, relatively speaking, do not associate working hard as one of the primary characteristics associated with Americans. They are less likely to consider Americans hard working than the Indian national group.
Indian students are among the least likely of national groups to associate greed with Americans.
Indian students are less likely to associate inventiveness with Americans than the Indian national sample. What do you think this implies?
Indian students are among the least likely of national groups to associate immorality with Americans.
Emphasize disproportionate flow of information, including popular culture. Many Indians have watched hundreds of American films. Most Americans have never seen any Indian films. This is often the case with music and other forms of popular culture. It is also the case with news. What are the implications of a disproportionate flow of information for American-Indian business relationships?
Indian students were asked to write down their favorite three American films.All films were that Indian respondents selected were coded based on information provided at the following website: filmratings.com. The movies were coded for year of screening, rating, and reasons for rating.
Are you worried that Indians and other non-Americans could get inaccurate perceptions of Americans based on movies? What types of stereotypes might non-Americans form about Americans based on American films?
Those Indian students whose favorite American films are rated R due to violent content are far more likely to associate violence with Americans.
Indian students’ favorite movies are popular American films that were popular in the United States. Does the fact that many Indians have similar popular entertainment preferences indicated cultural similarity?
Indian students choose remarkably similar movies as their favorites as do Americans and movie-goers elsewhere.
For this item, respondents ranked cultural difference on the following scale: 1=very small; 2=small; 3=medium; 4=great; 5=very great. The chart above shows those who responded with a 4 or 5 (great or very great differences).Indians perceive strong cultural differences with Americans, particularly for cultural norms and values, customs, and overall culture. Americans might assume that cultural differences are small (projected cognitive similarity) based on similar popular culture preferences and dress. However, Indians with exposure to the American culture say otherwise.
For accuracy, respondents ranked items on a scale from 1, not accurate, to 7, accurate. For this chart, agreement was identified by respondents who marked 6 or 7 for their response. The item of economic development showed the least agreement.
Pride items were answered on the following scale: 1, not very proud, to 7, extremely proud. The chart above shows the percentage of respondents who answered 5, 6, or 7 on this scale.Clearly, respondents draw a distinction between pride in winning awards for the movie and the movie itself. Furthermore, less than a majority feel pride in the movie. What does a lack of pride in the movie Slumdog Millionaire imply for what you can learn about the movie?
Generally, students from North India ascribe positive work characteristics such as being hardworking and inventive to Americans more so than students from other region; however, these same students are less likely to ascribe positive interpersonal characteristics such as being caring or tolerant. Students from West India are most likely to ascribe characteristics of greed and immorality to Americans, and students from South India are least likely to consider American honest and hardworking.
Slumdog Millionaire Survey Results
USING FILMS TO LEARN ABOUT OTHER CULTURES: What Indians Actually Say About Slumdog MillionaireBy Peter Cardon Learning to be An Effective Interculturalcardonbcom.com Observer
About Slumdog Millionaire2 Won Best Picture award at the Academy Awards in 2009 A British-directed film based on the novel Q & A by Indian author Vikas Swarup Film is a rags to riches story set in India Story of winning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire that contains memory recalls of life as orphan in slums
Learning about Stereotyping through Survey Results3 1. Understanding how one’s own culture is stereotyped 2. Understanding how films and popular culture can influence and perpetuate stereotypes 3. Understanding how projected cognitive similarity can influence stereotypes 4. Understanding how outgroup homogeneity effect can influence stereotypes 5. Understanding how target cultures would like to be stereotyped
ABOUT THE SURVEY Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
About Survey5 120 current or former university students from India who are or did study in the United States took the survey. These Indian nationals have firsthand knowledge of Americans Survey administered online through several Indian Student Associations at American universities
Gender6 Gender Breakdown of Survey Respondents Male 70% Female 30% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Age7 Age of Respondents 25 yrs old or less 43% 26 to 30 yrs old 36% 31 yrs old or above 21% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%
Religion9 Religious Background of Survey Respondents Hindu 80% Christian 14% Muslim 3% Other 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Home Region in India10 Home Regions in India of Survey Respondents South India 48% West India 27% North India 19% Northeast India 5% East India 2% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
IMPRESSIONS OFAMERICANS ACCORDINGTO INDIAN STUDENTS Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
Characteristics Associated with Americans12 Characteristics that Indian Students Associate with Americans Honest 83% Inventive 73% Caring 67% Tolerant 67% Hardworking 66% Greedy 34% Violent 28% Immoral 27% Rude 22% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples - RUDENESS13 Percentage of Respondents who Associate RUDENESS with Americans Jordan 64% Indonesia 56% Turkey 53% Canada 53% Pakistan 51% Lebanon 50% Russia 48% China 44% Spain 39% France 36% Morocco 35% United States 35% Great Britain 29% India 27% Netherlands 26% INDIAN STUDENTS 22% Poland 21% Germany 12% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples - HONESTY14 Percentage of Respondents who Associate HONESTY with Americans INDIAN STUDENTS 83% United States 63% Morocco 63% India 58% Great Britain 57% France 57% Germany 52% Netherlands 46% Lebanon 46% Spain 45% Poland 44% Canada 42% Jordan 37% China 35% Russia 32% Pakistan 27% Indonesia 23% Turkey 16% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples - VIOLENCE15 Percentage of Respondents who Associate VIOLENCE with Americans Jordan 73% Turkey 70% Indonesia 67% Canada 64% Lebanon 63% Pakistan 63% France 63% China 61% Netherlands 60% Spain 60% Morocco 59% Russia 54% Great Britain 53% Germany 49% United States 49% India 39% Poland 33% INDIAN STUDENTS 28% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples – WORKING16 HARD Percentage of Respondents who Associate WORKING HARD with Americans Morocco 92% France 89% United States 85% Indonesia 84% Netherlands 84% India 81% Jordan 78% Canada 77% Great Britain 76% Spain 74% Russia 72% Lebanon 69% Germany 67% INDIAN STUDENTS 66% Poland 64% Pakistan 63% Turkey 61% China 44% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples - GREED17 Percentage of Respondents who Associate GREED with Americans United States 70% Turkey 68% Netherlands 67% Lebanon 66% Great Britain 64% Jordan 63% Canada 62% Indonesia 61% Russia 60% Pakistan 58% Spain 58% China 57% Poland 55% Morocco 52% Germany 49% India 43% INDIAN STUDENTS 34% France 31% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples -18 INVENTIVENESS Percentage of Respondents who Associate INVENTIVENESS with Americans Morocco 86% India 86% Indonesia 84% United States 81% Germany 76% France 76% Canada 76% INDIAN STUDENTS 73% Poland 73% China 70% Netherlands 69% Jordan 68% Great Britain 64% Lebanon 58% Pakistan 57% Russia 56% Turkey 54% Spain 53% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Perceptions of Americans in Comparison with Other National Samples -19 IMMORALITY Percentage of Respondents who Associate IMMORALITY with Americans Jordan 69% Lebanon 64% Pakistan 58% Turkey 57% Morocco 55% Indonesia 48% China 44% Russia 42% United States 39% Netherlands 38% France 37% Spain 36% India 36% Canada 34% Poland 33% Germany 31% INDIAN STUDENTS 27% Great Britain 26% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Generally Positive Statements20 “My overall impression of Americans is quite positive, and given my experience here over almost a decade, I would sum it up by saying that I would rather be here than anywhere else in the world.” “It is a really cool country, I enjoyed every moment of my stay here overall its a great experience. The only thing that i am really worried about is safety (People kill just for $5- $10) and IQ level of US citizens.”
Diverse21 “Americans have inhabited all forms and cultures of the world into one more superior race! So you can always find yourself in an American at any point of time.”
Lack of Work Ethic, Culture, and Independence22 “I have met more hardworking Asians than Americans.” “I don‟t see American kids with any culture or customs.” “But the majority think less for themselves and blindly follow their leaders - like in any other country.”
Kind and Helpful23 “I can only say good things about Americans. I am extremely impressed by their willingness to be good to people. They are not sex maniacs as they are shown to be in the eastern world.”
Friendly, but . . .24 “Americans are very friendly. But if they think you are not useful to them with their business, they dont care about you anymore.” “Americans are a polished people with good manners outside but with no feelings inside.” “They are nice and helpful, but everything in business sense. Also everything is dealt in a professional manner not in a personal sense.” “I like the fact that they are very humanitarian, if you tell your professor that you are hurt and unwell they would understand. It is a very good thing to smile at people ..but most people do it just for the heck, they would smile at you and won’t wait for you to smile back which looks very fake, its like you are programmed to smile at any one and every
Ignorance and Lack of Awareness25 “Americans can be very easily influenced by the media or by half truth and they do not make any effort to know the full truth. Moreover they know very little about the rest of the world. That said, they are very honest in their opinions and try to be always helpful.”
Ignorance and Lack of Awareness (cont.)26 Because they dont have much interaction with close neighboring countries, they tend to be ethnocentric. They have an overblown sense of their importance in the world. But they are very ingenious and keep reinventing themselves.
Uncaring27 “They are united. Very patriotic but they kind of think they are the leaders of the world which is not true. They care about themselves but not much of others. They hide their emotions and always talk behind or do things unknowing to the opposite person. They are best research and advanced learners that I met. They do what they like unlike what they are told.”
Uncaring (cont.)28 “Americans live for themselves where we Indians live for one another. Take me [for an example.] I am working on a PhD and still I speak to my parents every day for an hour and I send my savings back home to my parents. I care for my parents a lot whereas with my American friend I didn’t see this.”
Arrogance29 “The American layman is a pretty honest, mostly liberal and respectful of other cultures and religions. However, the American intellectuals and policy-makers and those in the various power centers come across as arrogant and self-centered. They come across as people with short-term goals and vision with no feeling of justice. Basically, all they care about is America, the rest of the people in the world be damned. Human rights forums, global trade organizations, concepts like globalization have been created by these people in order to loot the wealth from poor countries as well as subjugate and maim their economies.”
Systematic/Rule-based30 “I always feel there nothing so specifically great about Americans as it is about American system. It is the system that makes life easy for American people. Examples: Regulated traffic, less corruption... However, I really appreciate the people who made this great system possible. And I love the way people stick to the system designed. Everything seems so systematic.”
Fair and Tolerant31 “I think America, as a society is a perfect example of equal opportunity society. People are just and moral. American society has developed so over the years. But the government and few greedy big companies are very unjust and immoral. The patriotism in America has a totally different angle and sometimes it just goes too far and presents a wrong picture of the American people to the outside world. After living outside the US for 22 years and then getting to learn about this country from within, I think Americans are moral and hardworking; the US is a great nation of true people but in order to maintain it a superpower the government does a lot immoral and unjust acts outside the country.”
WATCHING OFAMERICAN FILMS Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
Frequency Watching Hollywood33 Films How Many American Films Do You Watch Each Year? None 1% 1 to 2 3% 3 to 5 4% 6 to 10 11% 11 to 20 25% 21 or more 56% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
Ratings of Favorite Movies34 Ratings of Indian Students Favorite Movies R 42% PG-13 35% PG 18% G 5% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%
Content35 Percentage of Favorite Films Containing Significant Sex/Drugs and Violence Content Violence 35% Sex/Drugs 32% Violence in R-Rated Film 23% Sex/Drugs in R-Rated Film 16% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
Impact of Films on Stereotypes36 Perception that Americans are Violent Based on # of Favorite Movies that are Rated R for Violence 2 or 3 movies 54% 1 movie 31% No movies 20% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
Favorite Hollywood Movies of37 Indian Students According to Indian Students in the survey: Rank Title (# of Students Choosing) 1 Shawshank Redemption (20) 2 Godfather (19) 3 Lord of the Rings (19) 4 Dark Knight (16) 5 Titanic (16) 6 Forrest Gump (11) 7 Matrix (9) 8 Pursuit of Happyness (7) 9 Schindlers List (7) 10 Gladiator (6)
All-Time Favorite Hollywood38 Movies According to online respondents at the Internet Movie Database (see www.imdb.com/chart/top): Rank Title (Rating/# of Ratings) 1 The Shawshank Redemption (9.1/427,526) 2 The Godfather (9.1/353,835) 3 The Godfather: Part II (9.0/205,928) 4 Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (8.9/126,559) 5 Pulp Fiction (8.9/350,718) 6 Schindlers List (8.9/233,109) 7 The Dark Knight (8.8/371,608) 8 One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (8.8/178,887) 9 12 Angry Men (8.8/91,484) Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back 10 (8.8/240,272)
Perceived Cultural Differences with39 the United States Perception of Large Cultural Differences Cultural norms and values 86% Customs 82% Work values 48% Youth culture 53% OVERALL CULTURE 81% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
ATTITUDES TOWARDSLUMDOGMILLIONAIRE Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
Accuracy of Slumdog Millionaire41 Accuracy of Various Movie Elements Music 91% Corruption 86% Clothing 79% Playfulness of children 77% Loyalty between friends 75% Conflict between religions 73% Unfair treatment of orphans 72% Poverty 68% Images of buildings 66% Workplace (call center) 63% Dancing 63% Mannerisms 63% Romance 60% Images of homes 59% Economic development 58% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Pride in Slumdog Millionaire and Aspects of Indian Society and42 Culture Pride in Various Aspects of Indian Society and Culture Indian culture and society 74% Indian businesses 71% Indian movie industry 68% Indian democracy 66% Awards won from Slumdog Millionaire 63% The movie Slumdog Millionaire 40% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Favorite Scenes43 The Indian students who participated in the survey were asked to explain their favorite scenes from the movie. The most common favorite scenes were the following: Children playing Outhouse Response of ordinary Indians to the main character Happy ending Not being deceived Many students in response to this question explained why Slumdog Millionaire is not a good film (particularly in comparison to Bollywood films)
Children Playing at the Beginning of the Movie44 “The opening sequence where the kids are playing cricket on an airport runway [is my favorite scene]. I love how playful and happy and full of energy the children are despite their circumstances. To me, it is how life should be, not just childhood. The song that accompanies that sequence, O Saya, is also my favorite from the film, and it perfectly suits what is going on on-screen.” “The opening scene with the children playing cricket . . . [It] reminds me of my childhood days growing up in a suburb of Mumbai.”
Outhouse45 “Favourite scene.. the scene where the boy goes into a pool of shit ... just to meet his idol... you know we are a movie(Bollywood) and cricket crazy nation.” “When the kid Zamaal Mallik jumps into the shit to see Amitabh Bachchan. This scene truly portrays the fascination of Indians for movie stars and its quite hilarious.” “The scene where the child jumps into shit to get autograph of Amitabh. I like it because we Indians are really mad about our movie stars. People can go to any extent to get a glimpse of their favourite star. I think there is reality in this scene and that‟s why I like it.”
Scenes between Jamal and Lathika46 “When Lathika picks up the phone in the climax (when she gets the call from the about-to-become millionaire), seems like the answer for the quiz question matters very little there. They show love and excitement in that few seconds with out even bothering much about the question, the million or anything else. A very nice projection of love and only love!” “When Latika is smiling up at Jamal. This smile represents love and hope for the future.” “I like the scene when Dev and Freida meet at the railway station, and he kisses the scar on her cheek that leads into a rewind of scenes.”
Unity of Indians47 “My favorite part in the movie is when he comes out of jail and every one supports him to win. We can see a unity of Indians – standing beside someone who has a cause, a dream.”
Cleverness of Main Character48 “Despite being prompted by the host the guy chooses another answer. This shows experience of life - distrust for people, his ability to gauge people and his self- confidence.”
Happy Ending49 “I liked the part that the movie at least ended on a so called happy note. I firmly believe that a even though bad things happen to us, a brighter day awaits. Just don‟t give up.”
Statement about India50 Jamal says to the protagonist (at a construction site in Mumbai): "India is in the center of development and we are in the center of it all"
Dissatisfaction with Movie51 “I have no favorite scene in the movie, because I thought it was just a make-believe. The scenes with the underworld dealing might be accurate but I don’t know any better. The slum situation is accurate but things like that happen only in Mumbai slums because the city is grossly over-populated. No other city has a slum like that. The movie felt like a true translation of the book. It had that bookish quality about it, as if an amateur writer had written the book and got lucky with some movie producer. Normal average Indian lives bear NO resemblance to any character in the movie.” “I hated the movie for the way it has depicted my country! In fact I do not even want to remember any scene from this so called entertainer to recall the favourite scene!”
Dissatisfaction with Movie52 (cont.) “I am speaking frankly here. I wont say Slumdog Millionaire movie is very good. It is a normal movie. There are so many better movies made in India on Gangsters, Slums and love etc. For example, watch "Nayakan" or "Nayakudu" (I dont know whether English subtitles are available or not). Another movie which has similarity with Slumdog is "Cidade de deus" (Brazilian movie) which is very well made when compared to Slumdog. I feel, Slumdog is definitely over hyped, thanks to Danny Boyle from Hollywood. For example, AR Rahman got Oscar for his music. But the truth is "Slumdog millionaire" would not even be in Top-20 of his best movies. He has given lot better music in so many other Indian films. Nobody in slums can speak English. They speak Hindi (national language of India). Hero winning Millionaire competition is too unrealistic (answering questions from his childhood memories.... hahaha). But, I agree that "Bombay Slums" are real and those are pictured in very realistic way. BTW, you can see Bombay slums when taking off from Bombay airport.”
Dissatisfaction with Movie53 (cont.) “I do not have any favorite scenes as such. But, I am highly critical about one scene, where the (second jamal) Jamal is playing a tour guide and gets trashed by the car driver when Jamals brothers gang strip the car. At this moment, Jamal makes this very bold comment saying, "You wanna see real India, here it is." And, then the American couple comes to his rescue and give him money saying that "here is some of real America, son." These statements are way to obnoxious and make irrelevant points which are not even needed by the films script. I personally feel these statements should have not been a part of the script, as they tend to hurt Indian sentiments. Though I do not live in India, I am certain that Indian culture emphasizes a lot on taking care of the children. In fact, as a matter of fact as I have stayed in India and US, I guarantee that Indian culture focuses much much more on the well being of the children and traditionally elders do all they can to support the future generation. And I strongly feel that the movie not only failed to clarify this point, but also conveyed a misconception into any NON-Indians mindset.”
Dissatisfaction with Movie54 (cont.) “The end because I could then get out of the movie theater and stop wondering why I had wasted good time and money. While the movie itself was good it was wrongly celebrated as a great picture, neither did it in all honesty, deserve to win awards for best picture. The performance of the kids and the music was the only shining light in the movie. The story line itself was drab & imaginative and certainly did not evoke the response of a truly great viewing spectacle. It was hype & hoopla all the way. The American perception may be different considering that they are not exposed to such things on a daily basis.”
REGIONAL, GENDER,& AGEDIFFERENCES Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
Regional Differences56 Pride in Various Aspects of Indian Culture by Region 73% Indian movie industry 56% 82% 79% Indian culture & society 66% 82% 75% Indian businesses 66% 73% 68% Awards won from Slumdog Millionaire 53% 64% 66% Indian democracy 71% 59% 45% The movie Slum dog Millionaire 38% 27% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% South India West India North India
Regional Differences57 Impressions of Americans by Region 18% Rude 28% 24% 31% Violent 28% 38% 26% Greedy 44% 38% 26% Immoral 34% 24% 73% Honest 91% 90% 55% Hardworking 69% 90% 76% Inventive 78% 81% 70% Caring 69% 55% 70% Tolerant 69% 57% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% South India West India North India
Age Differences58 Pride in Various Aspects of Indian Culture by Age Group 75% Indian culture & society 78% 65% 72% Indian movie industry 68% 61% 76% Indian businesses 73% 61% 65% Indian democracy 70% 61% 70% Awards won from Slumdog Millionaire 65% 48% 40% The movie Slum dog Millionaire 48% 26% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% <25 yrs 26 to 30 yrs 31+ yrs
Gender Differences60 Pride in Various Aspects of Indian Culture by Gender 81% Indian culture & society 72% 77% Indian businesses 69% 57% Indian democracy 69% 83% Indian movie industry 63% 69% Awards won from Slumdog Millionaire 59% 47% The movie Slum dog Millionaire 36% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Female Male
POTENTIALMISPERCEPTIONSACCORDING TO INDIANSTUDENTS The Case of Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
Non-representativeness63 “The movie depicts life in the slums of Mumbai, and the most common misperception I have already seen among Americans who have watched the movie has been assuming that life in India is that way for everyone who lives in India. Having been born & raised in Mumbai, it suffices to say that this is far from reality for a majority of the ~18 Million people who live there. The other misperception I am concerned about is the way in which religious riots were depicted in the movie; having had the first-hand experience of being caught in the midst as a college student, the incidents that have been permanently etched on to my mind have been those of Muslims as being the aggressors, rather than victims. However, the movie director has apparently chosen to take a revisionist approach to history in this matter.”
Non-representativeness (cont.)64 “India is a country varying in everything from clothes, religion, food, mannerisms, language, education, status of women in society, etc. All these varies from region to region. So, one movie like Slum Dog Millionaire should not be considered as Indian culture. That is the slum culture and their life. It was good to see how kids from slums without formal education learn about several things in life. If you watch Monsoon Wedding, it will show another culture of India - that of rich people. Everything in that movie like clothes, romance, eveything is different. If you watch Bend it like Beckham, it is another culture. It is the culture of Indians living abroad - trying to teach kids to be Indians in a foreign country. See, if an American after watching Slum Dog Millionaire thinks, that is India - it will be like an Indian watching „The Color Purple‟ and thinking that is America.”
Non-representativeness (cont.)65 “The film portrays 1% of the Indian culture and economy. I should say that this movie is one facet of India and there is so much more that is way different than what you see in the movie. Stereotyping India based on this movie is something that Americans could do. Not all are mature enough to understand what is going on in reality. For example, I have friends and colleagues here in USA that ask me if I used to go to school on elephants in India (which is ridiculous). The fact that movie showcases slum dwellers does not mean entire India lives in Slum. This movie could serve as a catalyst to increased misconception in rest of the worlds mind that India is in bad shape.”
Non-representativeness (cont.)66 “Looking at India as a whole based on the image created by the movie. The movie is based in Mumbai and there are quite a lot of variations between the different metros as well as between the metros and the upcoming cities such as Pune, Hyderabad etc.”
Non-representative (cont.)67 “The movie does a great job at giving a fairly accurate depiction of life in the slums; the treatment of orphans (ie breaking bones, making them blind --> forcing them to beg), prostitution of some girls, and the violence that is depicted is a sad reality (although, not as bad as these situations may have been a decade ago). However, for people who have not traveled internationally and explored world cultures, this movie may present a skewed view that only the slums and extremely wealthy classes are present in India. The discrepancy among classes has been prevalent, but India has a growing middle class and a great deal to offer! On the other hand, the depiction of such stark poverty and corruption will hopefully bring to light some improvements that India can make and perhaps, increase human rights activism within the country.”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian68 Life “I do agree that the slum life shown in the movie is typical in India. But all the cons in the slums were shown together. Thats my greatest concern. Looking outside the slums there are good things as well.” “Poverty....conflict between religions......i m extremely proud of being an indian n that all indians r united n the fact that v r still a secular state proves it.....there a lot of positivity in india which is not shown in the movie...”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian69 Life (cont.) “They all think that Indians are poor. The 1st thing Americans tell me they think of is of donating money and doing charity work in india. There are a lot of successful people in india too. Like lower middle class men who rose up to become Billionaires. One thing is for sure, that Indians( mainly Asians in general) are very hardworking because they know how things are back in their countries so they work hard. This is the reason why Asians are "so smart". Also the Indian movie industry is huge, and has the most films released every year. Not all movies are like this. There are all kinds of genres.”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian70 Life (cont.) “India with over a billion people is a peaceful, safe, tourist-friendly country. Conflicts and riots do occur, but they are very uncommon. Americans who have not traveled outside of their own country, should take the violence, conflicts and corruption in the movie with a pinch of salt. These things are part of life in India, but what is shown in the movie is very excessive.”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian71 Life (cont.) “The movie shows only in one category. India is so diverse in all different aspects such as culture, language, music, traditons, economy caste and a lot different things. The movie did pretty good job in covering some of them. It’s sad and shame that some of the horrific things happen but on the other side, few shine through the situations. I hope one day all Indians would shine. Jai Hind!!”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian72 Life (cont.) “The movie portrayed the negative side of the cultural, economic and social aspects. However, India has a prominent place in the world history not for these reasons. Its not that the movie misrepresented or misinterpreted India but, it doesnt project the positive aspects well enough because, may be the director feels its not necessary to support his story telling. To me, India is about its family bondings, inter-personal relationships, music, great educational standards, hard- working people, economic development, balance between classic culture and modernization, technology, great minds, great food... There are lots of other good aspects which are not projected well enough (maybe they are not needed to support the story of the movie).”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian73 Life (cont.) “I am worried that Americans population will only see the negative side of India. This movie only portrays one side of the picture. We Indians have come a long way even though we are a young nation. It important to acknowledge the effort of Non-Profit organization, and civil society is which is empowering vulnerable populations. There are many good organization, work for orphans, prostitutes, HIV/AIDS and religious harmony. It important to see this side of the picture too. We might not have achieved everything because we have limited resources, like financial aids, literate population. But we will get there and be at par with develop countries soon.”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian74 Life (cont.) “Most Americans who see this movie will have the misconception that India is a slum. It is extremely distressing to see that creators of the movie choose to portray and project a very small part of India (as Mahatma Gandhi put it, the sewerage inspectors from the west!) They have completely chosen to ignore the rich cultural heritage, architecture, history, and the philosophy of India! Truly the creators of this movie have come to India as sewerage inspectors and they have probably been good at the job of giving a graphic description of the anatomy of a sewer, which is more or less similar in any part of the world! Certainly Americans would have a wrong concept and a sense of smugness that India which is emerging as a world power still is in dumps within the country!”
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian75 Life (cont.) “Well the movie did show what is happening in India to certain extent. But I do not want Americans to think that India is all about poverty, corruption, violence, bollywood masala etc. Yes the movie did show the dark side of India. But I am pretty sure it exists in every country including USA. I just want people to realize the India is also a developing nation that is doing well in almost all fields. Yes we do have our flaws and India needs to do a lot to to improve further. But I am sure there are many things good about India like how we gained our independence and how we still coexist among all the religious and lingual diversity. I am very proud to be an Indian. I felt the movie could have also tried to show some good things about my country instead of just portraying all the bad stuff that is happening. I just pray to God that my country becomes the best country in this world soon. I must also thank you for taking effort to know more about our reactions and also taking interest in my country. I am an Indian living in the USA for the past 8 months and I personally believe that there are many things that Americans still do not know about my country. It‟s time the world realizes that India is no longer a land of snake charmers, half naked fakirs and maharajas. There is nothing that you get in America that we do not get in our country.
Lack of Positive Aspects of Indian76 Life (cont.) “I am worried about Americans liking the movie for the poverty factor and the sympathy that might arise from it. We are not a nation in need of sympathy. Yes there is a class divide that wide in India but SM is a one off story, meaning its a imaginary story of a boy for whom love came first even in the most adverse conditions. I don‟t deny having these conditions in a few parts in Mumbai where the film has been shot but we really are a different and rich nation on the whole. We are really different than U.S or any other nation and people have here have to realise that we are fine and improving at our own pace. Like the movie for its one off story and the music (which is not the best of a.r.rahman) which is probably the western worlds first encounter with Indian bollywood music. We have a better music history!”
Misportrayal77 “The equation of film and its portrayal equal to India and her conditions is disturbing. The film is made by a non- Indian with a non- Indian perspective. I cannot expect a different culture to understand Indian Ethos in its own stand but a film can do so..which it failed. Unfortunately Indian film industry is governed by mafia except independent documentary makers. The use of this film by Catholic, Evangelist media is what is disturbing the most.”
Misportrayal (cont.)78 “American would think that Indians are manipulative and prone to yield under pressure and sell them selves.”
Misportrayal (cont.)79 “Slumdog Millionaire is a movie which in Mahatma Gandhis famous words can be called "Gutter" and the maker of the movie a "Gutter Inspector." Gandhi had used these words to describe a book written by Catherine Mayo, titled Mother India. Gandhi termed the book a "Gutter" and had remarked that "if you look into the gutter, you will only see filth everywhere." He termed Mayo as a "gutter inspector". He added that he never would have touched the book had it not been written in English for a western audience to soil the image of India in the western minds. Slumdog Millionaire makes me say „deja-vu‟!” “Stereotyping Indians with images shown in the movie is a possibility. I call slumdog millionaire movie as „poverty porn‟.”
BOLLYWOODMOVIES THATINDIAN UNIVERSITYSTUDENTSRECOMMEND Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
What Bollywood Movies do Indian81 Students Recommend? Rank Title (# of Students Recommending) Year IMDB Link 1 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (20) 2001 www.imdb.com/title/tt0169102/ 2 Rang De Basanti (12) 2006 www.imdb.com/title/tt0405508/ 3 Swades: We, the People (11) 2004 www.imdb.com/title/tt0367110/ 4 Taare Zameen Par (11) 2007 www.imdb.com/title/tt0986264/ 5 A Wednesday (9) 2008 www.imdb.com/title/tt1280558/ 6 Dil Chahta Hai (9) 2001 www.imdb.com/title/tt0292490/ 7 Jodhaa Akbar (7) 2008 www.imdb.com/title/tt0449994/ 8 Sholay (7) 1975 www.imdb.com/title/tt0073707/ 9 Cahk De! India (6) 2007 www.imdb.com/title/tt0871510/ 10 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (5) 1995 www.imdb.com/title/tt0112870/
Most Recommended Movie82 2001 Bollywood movie Set in the 1890s Plot: Members of a poor Indian village ask for less taxes from British rulers. British rulers offer a three- year tax reprieve if the village can field a cricket team that beats the British.
LINKS Survey About Slumdog Millionaire and Impressions of Americans
About the Movie84 Wikipedia article IMDB article Official Website New York Times review
Media Articles Focusing on85 Celebrations in India "Indians Embrace the Triumph of Slumdog as a Victory for their Country" in the New York Times "Indians Celebrate Slumdog Triumph" in Denver Post
Media Articles Focusing on Inaccurate Stereotypes Conveyed86 in Movie "What, Exactly, is Slumdog Millionaire?" in Slate Magazine "Shocked by Slumdogs Poverty Porn" in Times Online "Indians Dont Feel Good about Slumdog Millionaire" in Los Angeles Times
About India and Indian Culture87 CIA World Factbook Executive Planet website India Ministry of Tourism
Some Major Indian Companies88 Infosys Technologies Bharat Forge Essel Propack Godrej Consumer Products Mahindra & Mahindra Hidesign Hindalco Industries Marico Suzlon Energy Tata Motors United Breweries"Indias Top Global Companies" in BusinessWeek