Study Guide

Slumdog Millionaire What's Up With the Title?

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What's Up With the Title?

Hoo-boy. These two little words have caused a big old stir in the worlds of cinema and human rights… as well as raising questions about plain politeness.

The title Slumdog Millionaire, catchy as it may be, has stirred up no shortage of controversy. Some have argued that the term "slumdog"—and indeed the film as a whole—is dehumanizing and demeaning to slum residents.

It's been claimed that this film is a sort of "slum voyeurism," or "poverty porn," and that the slum residents are being exploited by the filmmakers and producers for the sake of turning profit.

Director Danny Boyle responded to this criticism, explaining that the intent of the title wasn't to degrade and disparage slum residents, but rather to emphasize the "underdog" aspect of the story. Either way, it's hard to argue that the title isn't both memorable and descriptive, totally underlining the rags-to-riches aspect of the film. It also sounded pretty good rolling off Steven Spielberg's tongue after winning Best Picture at the Oscars.

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