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MODULE PROFESSOR: DR KAREN LAI
ESSAY TOPIC: “INDIA’S SERVICE ECONOMY: A SLUMDOG ANALYSIS” Name: Nallu Dhinakharan Matriculation Number: U090043B
Introduction – A lead in to the service economy in India as portrayed in the film
. and this essay will also show that the film projects ‘elements of globalization in a postcolonial free market which has been infiltrated by transnational capitalism’ (Chestromathy. we shall look at the three aspects of the service economy which will also be the focus of this essay. 2010). The movie is ridden with examples from the informal sector of the economy. Materiality and Sociality – Intangible transactions in perspective With respect to the movie. 1977). The film uses the representation of India as an example. ‘A service may be defined as a change in the condition of a person. Can you believe that? We used to live right there. as it ‘reveals in full-tilt sensuality the Dharavi slum and the dynamic city of Mumbai to the world’ (Duncan. or of a good belonging to some economic unit. particularly materiality. materiality. India is at the centre of the world now. with the prior agreement of the former person or economic unit’ (Hill.. bhaiya (brother)” - A dialogue from the movie Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle. We shall begin this analysis with respect to the film. sociality and spatiality play a pivotal role in understanding the nature of the service economy in any country.“That used to be our slum. sanitation is offered as a service to a dweller in the slum and when the dweller feels that the . 2011). spatiality and sociality in Mumbai whilst narrating a glorious rag to riches story.. Now. The film seems also to cross a number of aesthetic and cultural boundaries. The agglomeration of intangible economic transactions has an impact on the landscape of the Dharavi slums and in turn the city of Mumbai. The construction of a makeshift toilet by the slums near the river and the collection of money for the use of the toilet is an apt example of the informal economy that is ‘constructed’ by the movie. One of the first few scenes shows that Salim (elder brother of Jamal) is seen collecting money for the use of the makeshift toilet by the river. This essay explores the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ via theoretical concepts.2008) A film of immense grit and class. Having looked at the definition of a service.. themes and issues in relation to the service economy which are exemplified and portrayed in the film. Slumdog millionaire accurately portrays the materiality. Here. I argue that materiality and sociality in the service economy are produced together. it's all business... These intangible transactions can often be hard to measure and as the movie shows it also includes the informal sector of the economy which can be rather illegal in nature.
In this view I argue that the movie was paramount to framing the notion of ‘emotional labour’ (Hochschild. it is estimated that the ‘annual turnover from the Dharavi slum’s small businesses is between $50 and $100 million’ (Duncan. Sociality is portrayed via the ‘commercialisation of the body’ (Chestromathy. Here we can see that there is a clear definition of a service as there is an exchange of sexual services for money. Here the prostitutes are the moderators of the society in the sense that they offer social support and as such they too are subjects of the stress and strains of the working world as they are to leave any stresses of occupational prostitution aside to provide a service. inequitable distribution of wealth and unplanned development in the economy of Mumbai’ (Duncan. The informal service that Jamal and Salim offer to the tourists in Taj Mahal also shows a jovial side of the film but highlights the reality of the situation where the two characters offer an informal service just to meet ends needs and live on a day to day basis. The presence of an illegal movie shack and the collection of entrance receipt is also another subtle yet interesting example of the informal economy. In the movie. The presence of gangsterism and the use of child labour to accomplish illegal tasks (beggar mafia) can also be considered to be a service. Here the service is illegal but when the child is paid for his services. Here we see a tangible transaction between Salim and the man but the nature of the service is informal. the owner of the illegal movie screening shack gives him a few rupees. . 2010) where the females are seen in Pila Street engaging in activities like prostitution and sleazy dancing. When Salim sells away the autographed photo of Amitabh Bachan. The film also portrays deliberately maimed children who are made to beg on the city streets. there are tangible manifestations on the quality of his life and the economy of the slum dwellers as a whole. There are outright portrayals of ‘greed. 1983). In light of such illegal activities. This shows the extent to which the people of Uttar Pradesh are dependent on the Dhobis. The Dhobi Ghat near the slums where the Dhobis wash and dry the clothes of their customers is another portrayal of the informal economy. 2011) that are showcased in the movie. he gladly reaches back to Salim for a refund of his payment. Jamal says “It is said that every person in Uttar Pradesh has had their kurthas (traditional top) washed and dried here at least once”. and that great numbers of people there live far below their human potential. I argue that poverty is one of the driving forces of the informal economy in India. 2011).service was not up to mark.
castles.Spatiality – The ‘call centre’ economy Teacher: “Anyone knows about Edinburgh?” Student: “Kilts.Inspector Taggart. He argues that there is a ‘second global shift’ (Bryson. India is a perfect example in what Bryson calls the ‘offshoring of service activities’ (Bryson. The individuals are also trained to say that they work in UK and not in India.. Sean Connery” Teacher: “Good!” ..A dialogue between the teacher and student at the call centre in Mumbai (Boyle. The presence of a cheap. themes and issues in relation to the service economy which are exemplified and portrayed in the film. Whiskey. Ben Nevis. probably to give them an edge when attending to calls from UK when calls come in. 2007). sociality and spatiality play a pivotal role in understanding the nature of the service economy as framed by film and how all these entities . The offshoring of services to India encourages call centre operators based in India to become ‘English’ at night and Indian during the day. Conclusion – A wrap up of the service economy in India as portrayed in the film This essay has shown the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ via theoretical concepts. It is seen as a means of negotiating the service distance and taking India’s rapid growth in ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) into consideration it can be said that India is a thriving ‘call centre’ economy. 2008) There are boards of streets in London hung everywhere in the call centre with pictures of festivals like the rowing race that takes place between Oxford and Cambridge. skilled and efficient English speaking workforce is a key reason as to why companies outsource their call centre service to India. All of this is done to purposefully “construct” the call centre as a place in UK and not in India. 1983). Emotional labour is usually understood to be implicated in face-to-face encounters between service producers and consumers but firms located in developed market economies encourage foreign workers to alter the ways in which they project their identities. This essay has also shown how materiality. The teacher in the call centre is seen training students from everything in the pop culture to the general knowledge of everything to do with UK. 2007) that involves distanced ‘emotional labour’ (Hochschild.
have helped in understanding the nature of the service economy in India as a result of the prevalent economic disparities and social norms and relations in the country. (1184 words) References .
Issue 4: pp. Cultures. (2010) Contesting India’s Image on the World Stage: Audience Reception of Slumdog Millionaire. Review of Income and Wealth. Geografiska Annaler: Series B. 31-43 Chrestomathy. Berkeley: University of California Press. Volume 9 (2010): pp.S.C. R. T P. (2011) Reading Slumdog Millionaire across cultures.Books Hochschild. Annual Review of Undergraduate Research. School of Languages. J. Human Geography. Film Boyle. On Goods and Services. Journal Articles Bryson. College of Charleston. ___________________________________________________________________________ . 1-18 Duncan. A. 315-38. (1977). and World Affairs. (2008) Slumdog Millionaire. (2007) The ‘second’ global shift: The offshoring to global sourcing of corporate services and the rise of distanciated emotional labour.R. Celador Films. Volume 23. School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Volume 89 (2007): pp. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 311-324 Hill. Volume 46 (2011): pp. (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. D.
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