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Immersion in the ‘Maximum City’? Interactivity, kinaesthetics and notions of embodiment in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

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Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008) has been criticized for its lack of authenticity, plausibility and realism. Another frequently appearing critique of numerous re/viewers revolved around the issue of ‘poorism’; the film’s alleged deployment of an orientalist Western gaze in depicting the dirty underbelly of a megacity in the developing world. Instead of asking whether Slumdog Millionaire‘represents’ Mumbai and its urban poor in a realistic or non-realistic (orientalist) way, this article tries to inquire whether and how the film engages its spectators into a visceral, sensual viewing experience. The article presents an analysis of the film’s deployment of participatory narrative strategies, kinaesthetic cinematography and notions of embodiment, in order to inquire the filmmaker’s overall ambition to immerse viewers into the experience of living in contemporary Mumbai.
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Keywords: Bombay Cinema; Slumdog Millionaire; embodiment; haptic visuality; kinaesthetics; postclassical cinema

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Mannheim

Publication date: November 20, 2012

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.
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