Vikas Swarup, whose book was turned into the Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire", will be India's consul general in Osaka, Japan. On his first visit to India after the Oscar glory, Swarup, the author of "Q&A", is upbeat about his new avatar as the country's most famous diplomat whose book has put India "in the consciousness of the world" in a new way.
Repudiating the labelling of "Slumdog Millionaire" as "poverty porn" by some critics, Swarup said his book and the film version neither glorified poverty nor trivialised it. "Slums are both a condemnation and celebration of India," Swarup said at Hotel Taj Palace Tuesday evening. The interaction was organised by the Aspen Institute India.
While slums reveal the dark underbelly of India's development, they are not places of despair and hopelessness. They are teeming with energy, ingenuity, dynamism, compassion, humanity and entrepreneurship, Swarup said. "There is no attempt to exoticise India. No book or film should seek to represent India in its entirety," he underlined.
Basking in the glow of the spectacular success of his book and the blockbuster film, Swarup said the success of the film showed the power of the India story and its fascination for the world.
In a speech laced with sparkling wit and erudition, Swarup said it was amazing for him to find out how many people from across the world have been touched by the film, and the connection they now feel with India. "In a sense, the book and the film have exposed India as a location for stories and for movies," he said, adding that the "Slumdog Millionaire" success has launched a thousand Oscar dreams in India. The success of the book shows India's soft power, said Swarup. "India is very hot at the moment. Everybody wants to know more about India," said Swarup.