Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

The following post is a collection of all of my thoughts on the amazing movie that is "Slumdog Millionaire":

The movie is being released in India next week and along with the english version, it is being dubbed into Hindi with the title "Slumdog Crorepati". Wouldn't "Jhopadpatti Crorepati" make for a much better title? It even rhymes!

The Indian media has been quick to eat up the success of the movie and they keep reminding the people that we need to take pride in the movie because it is the first "Indian movie" which has tasted such international success. That is bullshit. The actors and technicians may be Indian, but the screenplay and direction, which control the way story unfolds, were in the hands of Britishers. I think Slumdog is no more an Indian movie than Gandhi is - and Gandhi even won an Oscar. Having said that, the work that the actors have put in and the music by A.R. Rehman are awesome. The praise that is being heaped on them is very well deserved indeed.

There is a section of people who are not happy about the way India is depicted in the movie. They are afraid that the western audience watch the movie and come away with the opinion that the whole of India is the way it is shown. I think that the intelligence of the audience is being greatly underestimated in making this argument. Slumdog Millionaire depicts an extreme section of the Indian society - the ground realities that are faced by the poorest of the poor. It is not showing India in a bad light, it is raising awareness. The solution is not to stop showing it, it is doing something about it. Besides, this movie is just the latest in a long list of movies that show the dark side of India. Salaam Bombay, Parzania etc come to mind. If anything, I believe there is a shortage of movies like Slumdog Millionaire that hold a mirror up and show us the terrible side of our society that we ignore. Besides, I do not think this movie exaggerates the reality. The scenes from the slums are extremely real which is mind blowing considering that the movie is directed by a non-Indian. Kudos to Danny Boyle.

Last I checked, Slumdog Millionaire is not a documentary about India shining, so stop expecting it to showcase India. Slumdog Millionaire is an amazingly inspiring story of a poor orphan who overcomes insurmountable hurdles on his way to riches, that just happens to be set in India. The movie celebrates Jamal and his qualities - honesty, innocence and compassion. In the end, Jamal triumphs over all of the evil forces (his semi-evil brother, mafia, communal riots) that are to derail him.

In the end, the fact remains that everything shown in the movie is real and accurately depicts the plight of kids in the poorest neighborhoods of the country. Sadly, the one part that is a fantasy is of the kid escaping poverty by winning the crorepati show.


Kannan Kartha said...

Very nice man ... :)
I have not seen the movie yet, and my post is still in draft status ...

Just found out that you have quite a few posts ... will read through ... :)

Prasant said...

Thanks :)

Zaks said...

Cool Dude, I did now know u had a blog. Now I do agree with you and my buddy Amitabh :)

Utpal Ghosh said...

Very well said.