An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog_Millionaire_poster.jpgAll you need to know about Music Awards is, critics claim, that Mozart never won even ONE! So, sometimes the awards lose their credibility for not being awarded to the best in the play.. for example, the Nobel Peace Prize that was never given to Gandhi! But some prizes lose their sheen for being awarded to thoroughly undeserving candidates of a genre. Golden Globes to Slumdog Millionaire is one such example.

Slumdog Millionaire is a recent rage. It has won 4 Golden Globes including the “Best Drama”, Best Musical Score, and Best Screenplay.

I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night. Honestly, I felt cheated… BIG TIME! Its biggest strength – and probably the only – is its editing. The rest is average.

Story: The story in inherently flawed. I don’t know of any schools in slums that teach English and specially about the Three Musketeers. It is also highly unlikely that a person who is participating in a game show on TV would be picked up by the police and tortured over night. And most hosts are fairly good.. specially in the public! I have yet to see a single Reality show host who has a mean streak – at least in the public, so I am not sure who exactly was Anil Kapoor playing??

Somehow, midway in the movie you realize that the Director and the Story-writer is somehow obsessed with India’s poverty. Most of the things shown in the movie are real. And there is nothing to hide about that. But somehow the story just cannot come out the grime and crime! The Hero somehow keeps switching between an uneducated and orphaned kid from the worst of Indian slums to a kid conversing freely and fluently with Americans in American English! Sometimes you wonder if the story-writer could make such fantastic leap of faith or was it the Director?

The reason why I feel cheated was because I have seen so many great movies from India come out in the last few years – Black, Aks, Mumbai Salsa etc. If Slumdog Millionaire was not as racy as it was and if it hadn’t won the awards it has, I doubt anyone would have for it.. specially if it was done in Hindi!

Acting: Acting was average. Dev Patel didn’t seem very convincing to me at all as a slum kid who grew up.. and somehow his brother Salim (don’t remember the actor’s name) and Jamal’s girl-friend Latika (Freida Pinto) – didn’t seem to gel with the age that were representing. I don’t know about others, but Jamal’s elder bro looked younger to Salim and somehow, Latika who had looked younger to both early on, suddenly seemed much older to them!

Even acting by Anil Kapoor was average.

Music: Ok, so AR Rahman won the Golden Globe for the music.. and pray what was the music? I don’t remember anything of that music! It did have some songs surely.. I know I heard them in the background.. but everyone was forgettable! Again, if Rahman did have to win, then he has had better work to boast of!

Overall:

If there had to be an Indian movie to represent our cinema and actors, then this was the worst example of that kind of work! I watched Ghajini last weekend, and I was astonished at its quality and was totally involved in it. It was such a movie that it left a mark on my mind. (Movie Review will come later).

It is great that the Indian actors and cinema are finally getting the recognition that they long deserved! And I am hoping that this will be the start of a lot of other GOOD movies being made available to the world of what the Indian talent is capable of.. and one day an real Indian movie will finally sweep the award ceremonies. Until then, congratulations to the Slumdog Millionaire team nevertheless.

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4 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    Only reason you are crying about Slumdog is because it shows poverty of India which is hard for you to swallow like many others. If you like Ghajini which is the remake of 2 movies more, then you need mental help.

  2. Anonymous says

    Only reason you are crying about Slumdog is because it shows poverty of India which is hard for you to swallow like many others. If you like Ghajini which is the remake of 2 movies more, then you need mental help.

  3. Desh says

    Maybe.. but you have an issue with reading plain English! I have talked about the ridiculous story line.. things that don’t add up.. a story that can not be conjured up by any intelligent person from India. It is NOT about the hurt from poverty.

    There are many movies based on India’s poverty and some of these issues that I consider much more elegant and FAR better done: Do Bigha Zameen (THAT performance by Balraj Sahni is what I call “Acting”), and Boot Polish.

    It does not matter if a story is inspired from a book or another movie.. the fact is .. is that story good enough? Is the stuff credible? If poverty was shown just as a garnish – which is what was done here with a hero who lived in those slums talking American English and handling calls and using computer in the call center on the fly – then it is despicable and an insult to one’s intelligence (not pride).

    So, why don’t you get out of you fixed ideas and thoughts and think more clearly?

  4. Desh says

    Maybe.. but you have an issue with reading plain English! I have talked about the ridiculous story line.. things that don’t add up.. a story that can not be conjured up by any intelligent person from India. It is NOT about the hurt from poverty.

    There are many movies based on India’s poverty and some of these issues that I consider much more elegant and FAR better done: Do Bigha Zameen (THAT performance by Balraj Sahni is what I call “Acting”), and Boot Polish.

    It does not matter if a story is inspired from a book or another movie.. the fact is .. is that story good enough? Is the stuff credible? If poverty was shown just as a garnish – which is what was done here with a hero who lived in those slums talking American English and handling calls and using computer in the call center on the fly – then it is despicable and an insult to one’s intelligence (not pride).

    So, why don’t you get out of you fixed ideas and thoughts and think more clearly?

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