India (2): Street Kids in Mumbai Salaam Bombay Migrant populations flock to the outskirts of cities to find work. (source)
Outline • Background (1): Mira Nair and the Children • Background (2): • Bombay & Bollywood • Colonial Influences • Religion • Questions • Salaam Bombay
Mira Nair • Born in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa in 1957 (middle class family) • Attended the University of New Delhi (Sociology and Theater) • Went to Harvard in 1976 (Sociology) (source) • Salaam Bombay (1988) • Mississippi Masala (1991) –Indian immigrants in relations to Afro-Americans • Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1997) based on an Indian classic • Monsoon Wedding (2001) Indians and immigrants • [Vanity Fair (2004) ] • The Namesake (2006) Indian immigrants • The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012)
Salaam Bombay! • Awards: • the New Director's Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988 an Academy Award nomination for best foreign film in 1989 • Neo-Realism; A departure from Bollywood Musical.
Salaam Bombay! History of Production • Interviews of street kids in Bombay. • Out of these interviews emerged a screenplay that was a composite of several lives. • “Then many [24 out of 150] of the children were enlisted for weeks in a daily workshop, not to teach them "acting" (for that they already knew from hundreds of overacted Indian film melodramas), but to teach them how to behave naturally in front of the camera.” (source)
What happened to the children? • "Our whole attitude was to meet them halfway and help them realize their own self-worth and dignity," said Nair in a … interview with The Christian Science Monitor (12 Oct 1988, p.19). "[We] wanted to help them create opportunities they want for themselves." Responding to this respectful approach, some children entered school, some returned home to their villages, some got jobs, and some have stayed on the streets. • Nair uses proceeds from the film to open learning centers for street children in both Bombay and Delhi. (source) • The film’s interviews
The Kids after SalaamBombay • What Will Happen to Slumdog's Child Stars? • Hansa Vithal – married • Shafiq Syed – jobless, 3 suicidal attempts, until trying a new direction as auto-rickshaw driver or camera man. • One contracting AIDS, and died of car accident.
Bollywood “come back a movie star.”
Traces of Colonial Influences background Tourist & journalist
Questions • 500 rupees: [How does Krishna go to Bombay? Why is he away from home? Why does he go to Bombay and what does he want to do there?] –Answered (next slide) 1) Gateway of India & Graveyard scene • 2) Group (3) Group A migrant in a city: What is Krishna’s first experience of Bombay? (clip 1) Is there a pattern in his life there? Does he “grow” in the film? • Group (4) Street kids and migrants in a city: How does he relate to the people he meets in Bombay? (e.g. Manju, Sweet 16, Manju’s mother, Chillum & the other street kids.) e.g. Why does Krishna fall in love with Sweet Sixteen? Is there a common pattern in their lives? • Religion, Culture and the Government: How do Bollywood musical, religion and the government influence the kids in the film? • Group (1) Cinematography
Your Questions • Avon: What is the role of religion to the people in the city of abandonment? Images of decay or abandonment? • Rola: If the film involves the issue of colonialism, why does the director chose Hindi as the main language instead of English? What effect does it have? + Where do you see English & English culture? • Group (2) Alan: In the end of the film, why does the little boy begin crying and stop crying later? The boy’s growth? • Arik: What leads one to kill another is always complicated. In the film, why does Krishna decide to kill Baba? Krishna’s violence (burning the bike, the S-16’s bed, killing) • Wenny: What kind of social issues that we can see from Salaam Bombay? Do they still happen nowadays in the world? How do you look at those issues?
Your Answer • Krishna’s reason for going to Bombay and his experience: • Answer: • 1) Experience: Krishna took the train to Bombay by himself. When he first arrived in Bombay, he was shocked by people'slifestyle, especially the street kids. • 2) Reason: After his father's death, he was always beaten by his older brother, so he burned his brother's bike as a revenge. However, his mom brought him to a nearby circus and told him he can only come home when he earns500 rupees for repairing the bike. Since he did not catch the train with the circus, he decided to the nearest city Bombay to earn money. The only thing he wants to do is earn 500 rupees and get away from the city.
Major Themes • Major Theme 1: Migrants in the city • Major Theme 2: comradeship and betrayal • Major Theme 3: Other Social factors (Language Differences and Illiteracy; slums in Bombay, government inefficiency; Colonialism/tourism -- in the background)
(1) Migrant identity in Salaam Bombay • Migrant identity: people drifted to the metropolis, lost in the crowd, e.g. shots of the train station -- Chaipau: his name (Krishna); no home address -- Chillum: completely lost Mixture of language & illterate -- the sweet 16: no name, no language
Salaam Bombay: survival • How do Krishna and the other kids survive? • Skin chicken, clean chickencoops; keeps a sense of beauty and love • (after being fired) rob an old man, • (after losing his money) serve in a rich man’s wedding party
Major Themes in Salaam Bombay Desire for home –Lost Family e.g. Krishna -- tries to write home -- needs 500 rupees so that he can go home -- forms a “family” in Bombay (Chillum, the other children). • What about Manju’s family?
Salaam Bombay: The migrants in a city (2) • Manju’s family— • Baba – child-abuser and pimp (chaps 12, 15 ) • Mother –loving but cannot help (happy moments when the father is not around) • Manju– lonely and in desperate need of love. (e.g. chap 13, 14)
Salaam Bombay: a series of betrays Chillum Baba His wife & Manju Krishna The other street kids The Sweet Sixteen The circus boss
Major Themes (2): Vicious Circle? • Comradeship, betrayal and rebellion/survival-- Pattern of Repetition: • Drug-dealing: the death of the previous drug dealer, Chillum and then another Chillum. • Cheating: Manju’s mother cheated, The Sweet Sixteen Some are self-destructive and some, surviving • Chillum – has no friend; cheats Krishna with his “bank.” • Krishna’s setting fire as a way of rebellion against his brother, and then against the whorehouse
Major Themes 3: Social Factors • Why are Baba and his wife not named? • Why do people call Krishna “Chaipau”? • What roles do Ganesh and cricket game play in this film? And the “Chiller room”? (clip 20, 22) • Who sends the two kids to Chiller room? • How is the chiller room presented?
Bollywood & Mixture • hybrid culture and identity (e.g. Chillum, Manju’s dance—clip 3; Ms. Hawaii in the movie clip 6/chap 4, 6 21:00 )
Salaam Bombay: social factors • State intervention: Chiller Room (Children’s Home) • drug, prostitution and Bollywood • traces of colonial influence: • cricket, tourists, statues, movies • Religion: helpless. E.g. Ganesh (ending)
The Role of the Government • Disciplines only to lead to violence, indifference of the guards and endless procrastination in bureaucracies • Self-righteous intervention of Manju’s family.
The Ending? • Left alone,running • Weeping • Spinning top • Looking up at the camera --calm
References: • Roger Elbert. SALAAM BOMBAY!
Next week: stories of 3 girls and a young woman • During the time of partition -- in Earth; • Over the issue of marriage in “Gainda”