Am I just hopelessly jaded or totally cynical? I know it's easy to say with hindsight, but when I saw those Slumdog Millionaire children from the Mumbai slums being feted at the Oscars, posing with famous names and generally being introduced to what must seem a fairytale world to them, the alarm bells that went off were positively deafening.
Oh yes, there were the promises, the establishing of trust funds, the commitments to schooling and promises to keep an eye on them. But essentially, after the lights and cameras had been turned off and all the famous faces had headed back to their luxy pads in the Hollywood Hills, Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail had no option but to return to the abject poverty, grime and struggle which helped bring the film its many trophies.
Slumdog Millionaire was touted as heartwarming - an assessment I never shared. Heartwarming is when the problem's solved, and children like Rubina and Azharuddin are guaranteed the same basic 'comforts' enjoyed by other children. Like a safe home, a warm bed and hope for the future - not 15 minutes in the spotlight which serve only to highlight the dreadful disparity between what they have and what could have been theirs in another life.
So thank god for Danny Boyle and his conscience. The purchase of one flat won't change the world, but it sure as heck is a step in the right direction...