Mobility, Modernity and the Slum: The Real and Virtual Journeys of 'Slumdog Millionaire'

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Routledge, Aug 20, 2015 - Social Science - 254 pages

Only virtuous humans are supposed to move in time to meet their happy destiny or karma. The tale of Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire is such a case of serendipitous mobility towards riches and love – a ‘journey’ in which good heroes and urban communities respecting solidarity are successfully modernised. Unsurprisingly, the film became tangled in many controversies around India’s destiny in the world: the film inserted Mumbai into various financial, political and artistic scenes, increased tourism in its filmed slums, and brought about charity projects in which celebrities and tourist businesses were involved. Slumdog Millionaire served as a global example of a ‘developing country’s’ uneven but unique modernisation.

This book examines such mobilities of ideas, art, tourism and activism together. In doing so, it reveals the significance of Mumbai as a post-colonial city in discussions of modernity – a form of mobile adaptation to new world realities. Tzanelli examines the various agents involved in controversies through multiple virtual and real journeys to India’s colonial history and present social complexity, with a view to actualise a post-colonial future, a ‘destiny’ as the country’s serendipitous destination. Addressed to interdisciplinary audiences, the book will be a useful text for students and scholars of globalisation, mobility, tourism, media and social movement theory.


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List of figures
The nexus of theory and methodology
A Slumdog industrial community
from realist fiction to ethical acting
The cinematic text scenebyscene
The frail dialogics of pop participation
Slumdog Millionaires multiple sites as fields
The virtual journeys of Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog economies of modernity

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About the author (2015)

Rodanthi Tzanelli is Associate Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Leeds, UK.

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