Slumdog' didn't capture Mumbai perfectly - director

NEW DELHI Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:39pm IST

British director Danny Boyle (2nd L) poses with actress Freida Pinto (R), actor Dev Patel (2nd R) and co-director Loveleen Tandon during a news conference for their new film ''Slumdog Millionaire'' in Mumbai January 20, 2009.  REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

British director Danny Boyle (2nd L) poses with actress Freida Pinto (R), actor Dev Patel (2nd R) and co-director Loveleen Tandon during a news conference for their new film ''Slumdog Millionaire'' in Mumbai January 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - "Slumdog Millionaire" is not perfect, director Danny Boyle said on Wednesday, adding no filmmaker could capture the essence of a bustling city like Mumbai in a single project.

The cast and crew of the Oscar hopeful are in India in the run-up to the Indian premiere of the critically acclaimed film, a rags-to-riches story of a boy from a Mumbai slum competing on a TV gameshow.

"I have to admit, absolutely admit, that it's not perfect. I don't think any filmmaker can ever capture that city," the British director said at a press conference in New Delhi.

"It's an extraordinary city with all its extremes. You hope to capture bits of it if you can. That's what we tried to do."

"Slumdog Millionaire" came under fire from parts of the Indian media, who accused Boyle of romanticising slums and peddling begging rackets, prostitution and crime as "Indian exotica".

The film has sparked a debate on whether such "poverty porn" reinforces Western stereotypes about the country, though Boyle said he was trying to capture Mumbai's "lust for life".

"Slumdog Millionaire" swept the Golden Globe awards this month, landing four honours including best drama, and earned 11 nominations at Britain's BAFTA awards.

Boyle, known for his unconventional story-telling in films like "Trainspotting", said it was his "bedrock" of realism that helped him make "Slumdog".

"We've lost the ability to tell extremes within conventional realistic stories with believable everyday characters," the 52-year-old filmmaker said, adding that is what he had tried to achieve in "Slumdog".

Boyle said he would love to return to Mumbai some day to direct a "really dark thriller".

"It's got that landscape really and it's not obviously architecture so much -- it's more its people."

"Slumdog Millionaire" opens in Indian cinemas on Friday, a day after this year's Oscar nominations are revealed.

But Boyle said he wasn't thinking of the Academy Awards just yet.

"We keep our fingers crossed. But even if we drop off the edge of a cliff tomorrow, that's fine," he said.

"We have done way beyond we could have ever imagined."

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