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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slum dog- a perspective




Every one, by now might have read, heard or written enough reviews about the recently launched movie, Slum dog Millionaire (henceforth shall be represented as SM). Still I attempt one as the commercial movie hitting the top review columns, suddenly have taken an icon of Indian patriotism after Oscar ceremony.

We, Indians are thrilled even to learn that our movie is nominated for Oscar, perhaps we live by the adage, “competing is more important than winning”, or may be because we know the worth of our movies and are pleasantly surprised by its entering the international arena. I remember one actor's interview (there are millions of interviews by thousands of actors in hundreds of channels, so dont remember who), "we are using the cameras ditched by hollywood and our people want 'Matrix' like actions in all the movies.

Coming back to SM, I too, with the enthu inflicted by multiple sources, watched the movie with great patriotic feelings. The movie was nice overall, a good theme, but i was disappointed. First of all, someone please tell me whether its a hindi movie or english movie. First half or rather the childhood days of Jamal is in hindi till suddenly they jump from a running train and whole india speaks british accented english. The childhood slum days can never be depicted in english, but once the phase is over, the director conviniently came out of hindi. However, the well known hindi actors under very common indian cicumstances, when speak a foreign language in screen, the aberration is incorrigible, especially after a wonderful start of slum hindi.

The hindu-muslim riot and killing of Jamal's mother is an emotional force-fit for the simple question of 'what does lord Rama holds in his hand?". Similarly, when Anil Kapoor tried to cheat Jamal with wrong answer, Jamal is arrested for cheating case. Such scenes are aimed only to pull the emotions of viewers and built with no logic.The original book from which this movie is adapted doesnt have such illogical situations.

Talking about the theme, the social crimes of child abduction, prostitution and gundaism...A definite answer which director might have got from any indian across a coffee table. The director doesnt seem to have researched on any of these, for the scenes move too rapidly even to register or create an impact. The theme have lot of potential to exploit the emotions, reality and the real sufferings, but went till Oscar unexploited.

In one of the reviews I read that Oscar is under pressure to recognize india, but their ego prevented them to call upon an Indian director on stage and hence have found an easy route. Though the argument may convince all those who didnt appreciate the movie, I do not completely agree with it.

Few months back, I read a couple of novels by Khaled Hosseini describing the miseries in Afghan since USSR's invasion and for those who have had a first hand feeling about Afghan cant stop praising the work. But if an Afghan goes through it, he may not see anything interesting as he himself is a part of system which makes others eyebrows life in surprise. We are in a similar state of mind, being a part of the system, we couldnt appreciate it.

Finally, the reason for many of us to hate SM could also be because, the movie which is such an ordinary depiction of India won an international applause under a foreign director and not one among our millions. :)
(Image source: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1571460352/tt1010048)