General Question

FGS's avatar

Okay maybe someone can help me grasp why the kids in the Oscar winning "Slumdog Millionare" where plucked from the slums of Mumbai for the movie yet still live there?

Asked by FGS (1927points) May 15th, 2009

Maybe it’s just me that’s outraged that these kids that starred in a movie that made quite a bit of money are forced to live in the slums of India where they came from. Where is their end of the profits? Doesn’t this seem egregious and unfucking forgivable to you as well?

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59 Answers

_bob's avatar

Not really. They were paid quite a bit for Indian standards.

FGS's avatar

@bob_ From what I’ve read, a trust fund was set up for them when they reach 18….how fucking generous…“Yeah…about that living in a shantytown thing..yeah…sorry about that..but hey! Thanks for the Oscars!! Oh quit whining, you only have to make it to 18”

Unfucking forgivable…...

_bob's avatar

* shrug *

C’est la vie. It’s not like they were exploited.

FGS's avatar

@bob_ Please tell me you’re being facetious…

_bob's avatar

@FGS I’d say I’m being cynical. Kids work in sweat shops every day making the shoes we wear, for very, very little money. It really doesn’t bother me if some kids who acted on a movie didn’t get paid millions of dollars.

cookieman's avatar

How big are the trust funds and how close are they to eighteen?

kevbo's avatar

Maybe they should have gotten a better agent.

@FGS, I don’t argue with your impulse, but I challenge you to take a broader look at this kind of injustice. There are lierally hundreds of examples of corporations exploiting the poor, indigenous, and third world.

Also, (and not to glorify Indian slums), they are an anchoring source of culture and identity for people who live there. They are “the hood.” Look up Shantaram on amazon.com, and you’ll see what I mean.

RedPowerLady's avatar

That is a bit sick. And Ironic.

FGS's avatar

@bob_ I see the correlation you are making, however, something this visible and not an eyebrow raised makes me sick.

FGS's avatar

@kevbo What made me bring this up was an article in the news about one of the kids from the movie having his family’s shack torn down by the government with all of their possessions inside. If the money were available for them this wouldn’t even be an issue.

_bob's avatar

@RedPowerLady It’s actually not that ironic. The kid that got rich did so until he was around 18. Just sayin’.

@FGS What, exactly, would you suggest be done? Nobody knew the movie was going to be so hugely successful. They paid their kids several times the annual salary of the average Indian worker. Then the movie becomes a hit. Should the producers just write them a bigger check now?

FGS's avatar

@cprevite The amount is undisclosed (go figure) yet the movie grossed 325 million..I would assume a tidy sum would be awarded to the actors for their parts.

FGS's avatar

@bob_ I don’t have a good answer for that to be honest with you.

kevbo's avatar

@FGS, you mean less likely. See eminent domain.

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ Obviously, the producers don’t have any legal obligation to pay them more now, but it could be argued that they have a moral obligation to do so.

At the very least, they could help the homeless one’s family set up a new household.

_bob's avatar

@augustlan Yeah, I guess they could do that.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bob_ I generally disagree with your lack of empathy for the situation

It really doesn’t bother me if some kids who acted on a movie didn’t get paid millions of dollars.

But perhaps you are right about the irony. I would say the irony comes in when you are talking about the theme in general vs. the specifics.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Moral obligation and movie production have historically been quite distant from one another.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @augustlan. It would be nice if they could, at least, be watched out for until they are eighteen.

That being said, I can’t tell if I’m an idealist or a polyana in believing that.

discover's avatar

No one cares about them anymore. The kids got their share of compassion in the movie, and thats it.

_bob's avatar

@RedPowerLady I generally disagree with the idea of me lacking empathy.

kevbo's avatar

How much is it worth that the movie raised western awareness of India’s slums?

FGS's avatar

@kevbo That doesn’t change the fact that these kid’s got the glitter covered shit end of the stick.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bob_

But doesn’t that statement scream lack of empathy?

It really doesn’t bother me if some kids who acted on a movie didn’t get paid millions of dollars.

_bob's avatar

@RedPowerLady I didn’t win the lottery the other day. Does that bother you?

It certainly bothers me.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bob_ Not quite the same scenario.
These kids are leading scary lives. Regardless of their status in the movies we should care about their poor living conditions. They legitimately made good money and made a lot of American’s (and other countries) happy. And taking into account the work they did it should give us that extra push to care that they are able to do more than just survive. If “they” have the means to help then they should. Considering they made money making a movie about the crappy lives of these children.

_bob's avatar

@RedPowerLady The kids gots paid. The producers are making sure they go to school, and when they turn 18, they’ll get even more money. I fail to see how is it that they got a rotten deal.

Also, I’m hurt you´re not bothered by my not winning the lottery. And here I was thinking of getting you something nice :P

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bob_ If they still have to live in the slums, not by choice, then it is a bum deal considering how much money the movie made and considering the content of the movie. Besides that point, empathy is not about logic. It is about understanding what it would be like to be in another persons shoes. You could be perfectly logical and still not have empathy which seems like the path you are on in this “argument”.

YARNLADY's avatar

The whole thing is a set-up. They have a guardian and a housing/daily living allowance. There is no way on earth they were living in the shanty that got torn down. Their actual home is well known and in a different part of town.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@FGS @bob_

Thanx for the links. Both good descriptors of the injustice.

_bob's avatar

@RedPowerLady “A Fox Searchlight spokesman responded that for their one-month work on the film, she was paid three times the amount of an average annual salary for an adult living in their neighborhood.”

Such injustice.

FGS's avatar

@bob_ Would you accept it?

_bob's avatar

@FGS Three times average annual salary for a month’s work? Where do I sign?

FGS's avatar

@bob_ Would you accept $750? (roughly the equivalent of what they were paid)

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bob_

Just because it is three times the annual salary for their neighborhood doesn’t make it right. How about you try living off of that in their neighborhood?

Injustice:
1. This has also been met with criticism as there is question as to how children growing up in the slums have any expectation of being able to attend higher education, making the trust fund potentially useless.
2. After the latest misfortune, Azhar and his family will be spending the night on the muddy ground surrounded by the rubble of their shack. His 9-year-old co-star Rubina Ali has fared no better: her family’s shanty was flooded for days last month with sewage water from a backed-up drain
3. Azhar dodged piles of metal sheeting and debris as he rode through his destroyed neighborhood on a shiny new bike given to him by a fan from Britain
4. Still, life is far better than it was in the tunnel, he said. Rats used to bite them every night. Now he only gets bitten every other day, he said, fingering a fresh puncture on his big toe.
5. Azhar’s neighbors have less to look forward to. Homeless mothers nursed their babies Thursday in what little shade they could find in the 100-degree heat. Nearby, a 98-year old woman lay listless on a metal bed frame scattered with rags. A pregnant woman carried two large jugs of water, trying not to trip. A man on crutches hobbled through rubble littered with stuffed animals and children’s shoes.

How about you trade places???

_bob's avatar

@FGS No, I already make more than that, thanks.

<—Stops following.

YARNLADY's avatar

”“Slumdog” filmmakers say they’ve done their best to help the young stars. They set up a trust to ensure the children get proper homes, a good education and a nest egg when they finish high school. They also donated $747,500 to a charity to help slum kids in Mumbai.”

“Trustee Noshir Dadrawala told the Associated Press Thursday that the families were offered temporary rental apartments last week until permanent homes can be found, but they turned them down.”

Now, maybe I’m reading between the lines here, but I’m not convinced yesterday’s story is true.

FGS's avatar

@YARNLADY Go hang out with Jiminez for awhile, you two should have a heyday with all of the conspiracies.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@YARNLADY until permanent homes can be found

Do you know what these “permanent homes” are??
Slums

(unless of course there is something stating they mean something better than slums which I have yet to see)

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ll keep watching, but usually when I find a news report that sounds fishy, it turns out to be fishy

FGS's avatar

@YARNLADY Fair enough.

susanc's avatar

Victimizing three poster kids by transplanting them into middle-class neighborhoods will not change the social structure that is real for millions of other people. What drives that kind of poverty?
Hollywood, Bollywood, inept agents? Colonialism? Development? Do we want to think this through on a grander scale than how much money these kids got paid?

jackfright's avatar

i’m not going to win any popularity points for this, but here’s to an alternative perspective.

- what if the kids in the movie were not selected in the first place? whatever they were paid (no matter how low by our standards) put them head and shoulders over their peers.

- no one knows precisely how much the project you’re working on is going to make. so by your logic if i’m the head of a startup and i pay a cheap designer $200 to design something for me and later make $1,000,000, would that automatically make me a bastard?

if, however, you simply find it disturbing that there are kids who’re living in such a horrible situation, what are you going to do to contribute to improving their lives? because really, there’s a sea of them like that.

bythebay's avatar

@susanc: Once again, clarity of vision rises above the madness! Good to see you.

@kevbo makes a good point that bringing awareness is surely more important than an individual paycheck.

and @jackfright sums it all up well. There are a sea of children like that, all over the world. Additional redistribution of funds due to unforeseen success…not likely, and also not wise for movie makers. Would every subsequent movie actor be eligible for future renumeration if their project ended up being more successful than originally anticipated?

justwannaknow's avatar

OK, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the politicians get more corrupt. I would say that about sums it up.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@susanc I think that helping two children can create change. Those two children and their families could go on to help others.

I also want to point out that fighting injustice does not have to take place all at once.

I do believe that we should take a global look at this issue. And do something to help out. In the meantime, let’s give these children their due.

I believe what stops a lot of good from being done is arguments like these. They seem so righteous but in the meantime, while you are waiting for something huge to take place, millions of individuals who face injustice are being left out to dry, so to speak.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@jackfright

what if the kids in the movie were not selected in the first place? whatever they were paid (no matter how low by our standards) put them head and shoulders over their peers.

They were selected so we are working in reality not in “what if* land. This argument seems like a justification for not correcting the wrong-doing that has already taken place. They were selected, they paid a service, and there is money out there to dramatically improve their lives.

no one knows precisely how much the project you’re working on is going to make. so by your logic if i’m the head of a startup and i pay a cheap designer $200 to design something for me and later make $1,000,000, would that automatically make me a bastard

This is beyond the point. I think many have agreed to this. It is about a moral obligation to help out. Not logisitics. They have the money now so they could be helping out and morally should be.

if, however, you simply find it disturbing that there are kids who’re living in such a horrible situation, what are you going to do to contribute to improving their lives? because really, there’s a sea of them like that.

Fantastic Question. But again let me point out that here we are discussing people who actually have the means, right now as we speak, to do something about this problem and are not.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bythebay Would every subsequent movie actor be eligible for future renumeration if their project ended up being more successful than originally anticipated?

Just the ones who live in slums. I’d go for that. The movie industry makes too much money anyhow and some of that could be going to rightful causes. I know a very small portion already does. But I wouldn’t mind have our entertainers be required to donate money to these worthy causes. Especially when they exploit them for money. It’s not as if they don’t have the means to do this. This is not about their individual rights to their money. This is about ending global suffrage and I think that would be a step in the right direction.

btko's avatar

If any of us were used in a movie we too would be sent home.

susanc's avatar

@RedPowerLady – might be cool not to assume “we are discussing people who have the means to do something about this problem and are not”. Not that I know – I don’t – but people often do work for justice and don’t tell, for various reasons. Are you talking about the movie people who “only” set up education funds for the movie kids?

jackfright's avatar

@RedPowerLady They were selected so we are working in reality not in “what if* land. This argument seems like a justification for not correcting the wrong-doing that has already taken place. They were selected, they paid a service, and there is money out there to dramatically improve their lives.

this is my point. are you certain there is wrong doing when the handful of kids involved with the movie have been paid a sum their peers dont have? would the alternative of not producing the movie and not paying them (whatever that sum is) be better? i dont think so.

if anything, the movie did them a favour by not only paying a handful of the needy an amount of money they would otherwise not have, but by also drawing attention to the misery of the poor.

but since the direction of this discussion seems to be growing outside the original posters question, i’ll post two links that are more relevant to the overall issue of poverty.
have a look at this;

“Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day”

“Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.”

- http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

and someone mentioned imperialism; http://www.ied.info/books/economic-democracy/breakingfree.

bythebay's avatar

@RedPowerLady You’ve completely deviated from your initial outrage and veered onto a track of another type. If the actors were issued additional funds based on the movies success, it might help others. I say might because, it would only benefit others if said actors were indeed inclined to “give back” to their community. Otherwise, they would just to be two lucky kids who made it out, and probably never looked back.

As for whether or not the movie industry makes too much money; who are we to judge that? I, for one, do not buy into to the oppressed vision that those who are successful (read: profitable), are A: Bad and/or greedy or B: Obliged to either give or share their profits mandatorily with a charity someone else deems worthy. Exploitation is very real and does happen. Exploitation didn’t happen here; they were hired and participated willingly for a specified amount of pay. They seem to continue to participate with their purported oppressors as I have seen many pictures of these children at galas, premiers, etc. Perhaps neither the movie maker nor the kids are tapping into their ego ideal, but they have also not wronged anyone. It doesn’t appear that the independent variable changed; they were made an offer, they accepted, they were paid. I don’t hear them complaining.

Global suffrage isn’t going to shift toward an end by holding movie makers feet or wallets to the fire. Additionally, there are many movie/documentary makers whose cardinal trait is only to bring to light the worlds dire issues; be they environmental or reflective of the human condition. I’m sure there has been longitudinal research done on the inhabitants of these slums. @kevbo is correct, they are indeed an integral and inherent culture. Perhaps retrospective study would indicate they are desperate to “change”, but thats not for you nor I to assume or guess about.

susanc's avatar

Agreewith @bythebay and others who have pointed out here that to lose your culture may not be a good trade for cash.

Here’s a story about a fancy trip to Tibetan refugee communities made by my (wealthy) mother in the early 70’s.
In Dharamsala she discovered a very lovely 6 year old girl in the Tibetan Children’s Center (a boarding school for kids whose parents were away doing road work for the Indian government). She decided to adopt this child and take her home to Maryland.

The director, Mrs. Gyalpo, explained to her that the children were not for sale; even sending lovely warm clothes for little Karma from American department stores would be a mistake: they would isolate her from her siblings and friends.
Instead they agreed that my mother would send funds yearly to be used in whatever way Mrs. Gyalpo thought best. The two women became friends. As little Karma grew up, she exchanged letters with my mother, and is my good friend in our grownup years.
Way to go, Priscilla. Way to go, Mrs. Gyalpo. Just a little example.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@susanc good point. what i was referring too was have the monetary means, but you are right, i should not be assuming.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@jackfright I agree that the larger issue needs to be addressed. I also think that these kids should be well taken care of (of course I would probably argue that regardless of their “movie status”.).

this is my point. are you certain there is wrong doing when the handful of kids involved with the movie have been paid a sum their peers dont have?

Yes. I’m certain it is still wrong. Just because they got more than their peers do not make it right. If I get paid .10 above minimum wage does that make it a livable wage?

would the alternative of not producing the movie and not paying them (whatever that sum is) be better? i dont think so.

My point is that there are not only these two options. It is not this or that but there are other possibilities.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bythebay

_You’ve completely deviated from your initial outrage and veered onto a track of another type.-
You are probably right about that however I think it is all connected. Ending global suffrage starts with these type of arguments.

If the actors were issued additional funds based on the movies success, it might help others. I say might because, it would only benefit others if said actors were indeed inclined to “give back” to their community. Otherwise, they would just to be two lucky kids who made it out, and probably never looked back.

Would you not agree that either outcome is better than how they are living now?

As for whether or not the movie industry makes too much money; who are we to judge that?

We are part of society that needs to quit standing on the sidelines and start holding each other accountable. It is exactly our right to judge that.

B: Obliged to either give or share their profits mandatorily with a charity someone else deems worthy.

I believe they should be but that is for another question and way off track.

They seem to continue to participate with their purported oppressors as I have seen many pictures of these children at galas, premiers, etc.

Does that mean that they are not getting the sh*t end of the stick? They probably do not even know what oppression means. They are children.

I don’t hear them complaining.
This is a really poor argument. Of course you do not hear them complaining. Do you think American media would put that in the headlines? That is a simple sidenote however. We do not hear a lot of people complaining, even those who suffer horribly.

It doesn’t appear that the independent variable changed; they were made an offer, they accepted, they were paid

I will be honest and say I think this is a really good argument. They did accept the offer. I still think it is exploitation. Many people have been exploited by accepting poor offers. They probably had no idea they could negotiate up. Of course I hate to make that assumption so I should change the probably and say it is possibility.

Global suffrage isn’t going to shift toward an end by holding movie makers feet or wallets to the fire.

Of course not but it sure wouldn’t hurt the cause either. And I doubt it would have a huge impact on the movie industry but again that is a question for another time.

Additionally, there are many movie/documentary makers whose cardinal trait is only to bring to light the worlds dire issues

Like this one? Where they brought to light the suffering of kids in the slums and allow the kids to continue living there? Or do little to create change when they do have the means to do something bigger than what has been done. I say it is our moral obligation to do so. Apparently you disagree.

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