For kids in "Slumdog" slum, life is not as upbeat

Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:34am EST
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By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Reuters) - In Nehru Nagar, the teeming Mumbai slum featured in the Golden Globe-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire," the only music heard is on tiny radio sets and the young boys have no ambition to appear on quiz shows.

While the crowded slum with its unpaved alleys, open sewers and tiny shacks is faithfully portrayed in the film, for the kids playing cricket with wooden planks near a smoking landfill, the story of protagonist Jamal Malik is unimaginable.

"I have never even tried to get on a quiz show on TV," said Siddhant, a cheerful 12-year old, shrugging his shoulders.

For Siddhant, who studies in the seventh grade in a nearby school, his role models are cricketers and his hero is Sachin Tendulkar, India's batsman.

He and his friends have little interest in watching "Slumdog Millionaire," which was mostly shot in Nehru Nagar and nearby Dharavi, when it is released in India next week.

"We saw some parts of the shooting, and that was nice, but I won't see the film," said Alpesh, also 12.

"I only like Shah Rukh Khan films," he said, referring to the popular actor who usually plays the romantic hero in big-budget Bollywood productions.

GET A PEEK   Continued...

<p>A child flies a kite at the Nehru Nagar slum in Mumbai January 13, 2009. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe</p>