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In the News The Slumdog Connection

February 19, 2009


“The 'hole in the wall' project ... got me fascinated and I realized that there`s an innate ability in everyone to do something extraordinary, provided they are given an opportunity.”
Vikas Swarup, author of the book that inspired Slumdog Millionaire

Back in 2002, independent producer Rory O'Connor did a memorable report for FRONTLINE/World on what happened when an Indian scientist stuck a computer terminal, facing out, in the wall separating his high-tech office building from the distinctly low-tech New Delhi slum that abuts it. The result, which came to be known as the "hole in the wall" experiment, soon blossomed into an extraordinary demonstration of how quickly and intuitively young children can cross the digital divide, if given half a chance to do so.

Enter Vikas Swarup, a then-obscure Indian diplomat and writer who found the "hole in the wall" story so inspiring that he wrote a novel based on it. The novel, called Q and A, in turn begat ... you guessed it: Slumdog Millionaire, the oddsmakers' favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday night. Win or lose, here's the project that started it all.

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