Monday, December 22, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

“Brimming with humor and heartbreak, Slumdog Millionaire meets at the border of art and commerce and lets one flow into the other as if that were the natural order of things. Sweet.” – Rolling Stone

I couldn’t agree more. Undoubtedly the best movie of the year! The film is a visual wonder, thanks to Anthony Dod Mantel’s exquisite cinematography and Danny Boyle’s brilliant direction. And how could I not mention A.R. Rahman. It comes as no surprise that the soundtrack is an absolute explosion of genres, cultures, and sounds.

Before I watched the movie, I had read several reviews and as I had expected I did run into a few Indian writers who found Boyle to be obsessed with capturing the ‘real India’ and thought he lit every tail on fire to make it work for his primary audiences in the West. I have to admit some scenes were over-dramatized for effect – but at the end of the day it IS a commercial movie and not a documentary, so get over it. And I do not know if any of these critiques have ever actually visited or spent any time in the slums – I know I haven’t, so I’m not judging. Being an Indian I cannot deny any of the events take place just because it makes me think that India is being shown in a bad light to the rest of the world. In fact Indians are always defensive in this same manner whenever a foreign director approaches to make any movie related to India that is somewhat close to real. Well, if that really bothers you, get your ass off that snug couch of yours and go do something about it apart from criticizing the rest of the world for making India look bad. I wonder when these people read the newspapers with ‘real stories’ of attacks, murders, rapes, prostitution, police and political corruption, child labor and girl child abortion, do they usually go ‘Oh my God, what if some Westerner reads today’s paper? What will they think of India? Or even as a matter of fact when they watch any Bollywood movie which focuses on ‘real India’, are they concerned about what the world will think or are they at peace knowing it will only be seen by the Indian population. I guess the foreign directors should be focusing more on costume changes and snowy alps for a song and dance sequence rather than entering our slums to make a movie on India.

I have no qualms recommending this movie to my non-Indian friends and I don’t feel any less Indian for that.


V J said...

i never was ashamed of the fact that they show the reality in India cos that is the truth and truth is always bitter and something that no one wants to see or hear. Different people have diff. reasons that differ i suppose.

People like to live in the fantasy world and forget reality since it is so harsh, especially in countries like India, that's why movies have to have a dance and fight to succeed at the box office, people want to feel happy about something.

My too much 2 cents .. :)

Rahul Jauhari said...

I liked the film as well. And i have strong views on the debate :-)