At its core, slumdog is a fantasy film. The idea of the protagonist being stacked up against repeatedly terrible odds exists only to make the eventual payoff that much more significant to the audience.I agree with many of your problems with the film,and surely the academy and hollywood in general, do seem to have a perverse fascination with the struggles of other cultures, if only on a superficial level. However, I do not think the problems you had with this film are unique to it due to it being a portrayel of India. Many films set in the us contain just as much contrived plot points and have becomes critically acclaimed or oscar winners - The persuit of happiness, Crash etc.
Sometimes the smoke and mirrors are enough to trick a lot of peope into thinking a movie is more than the sum of its parts. crash was most definitly an example of that.
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