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An In-Depth Report of the 'Slumdog Millionaire' Tours

Where: Mumbai, India
March 6, 2009 at 2:56 PM | by | ()

We wondered last month whether Slumdog Millionaire jaunts through Mumbai's slums were inspiring or exploitative, and now the London Paper is back from India with a full report on Reality Tours and Travel's excursion through the Dharavi slums where the movie is set. The verdict? Well, still complicated. Aspects of it do sound like kind of a creep-tastic thing to do:

...walking down the tightly packed warrens of the residential area seems hugely invasive. Families are packed into single rooms and squeezing past the open doorways feels like walking through someone’s living room – we hear the blast of a TV, mothers scolding their children and the clatter of pots and pans being cleared away…

But they also note the tours are run by locals and provide a much-needed economic boost to Dharavi:

The guides are all Mumbaikars, speak Hindi and have been conducting the tours from the start. The residents know them so it’s comfortable to ask questions, instead of feeling that you’re just there to watch. The kids are keen to chat with visitors – we talk about cricket, school and how we use similar biros, proving that six-year-olds everywhere can find ­common ground with you.

So on the one hand it seems like a noble cause, taking some of the guilt out of your vacay by giving back to one of the world's poorest communities. On the other hand, poverty-gawking still seems a bit bizarre to us.

What do you think? Would you take a Slumdog tour?

Related Stories:
· In the footsteps of Slumdog Millionaire - taking a slum tour in Mumbai, India [London Paper]
· Reality Tours and Travel [Official Site]
· 'Slumdog Millionaire' Tour: Effective or Exploitative? [Jaunted]

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