It’s not a Film Review. As you can see it’s not written under my column and category ‘Film Reel’ but yes, I choose to speak and air my view on Slumdog Millionaire. I choose to watch the movie after the much-talked controversies and the number of Oscars that the film won.
Slumdog Millionaire is not a master-piece.In fact,it has been hugely overhyped by our media, the Indian media in pretty much the same way that Gregory Roberts’ Shantaram was. This is a problem with us, Indians.When a product from the west comes on our market, it does just that. That’s the trick to assume it is superior not on technical ground but since a gora is behind it, it automatically qualifies as a masterpiece. Had SM been made by an SLB, Pahlaj Nihlani or Vidhu Vinod Chopra or a Shyam Benegal I let u guess.
There is nothing unique in Slumdog Millionaire. The story is not a new story and it’s no different from Amar Akbar Anthony or a Raja Babu or a Mira Nair Dharavi. The only difference is that a Manmohan Desai or a David Dhawan’s film portrayed poverty in a light and humourous way while Danny Boyle’s portrayed it in a serious way. Slumdog Millionaire is not the first movie which showcased poverty in India. Mira Nair did it in Mirch Masala or Dharavi. It’s Boyle’s personal and cliche interpretation of India…poor India that must be showcased to the world. I am sorry, India is not just about slums but it’s also about corporate culture,MNC’s, big brands, our rich culture, struggle and our booming economy. It’s much more and beyond. a
The scene where the kid battle with everyone to get Amitabh Bachchan’s autograph while the latter’s helicopter lands into the slum..Wow! Reality bytes…It seems so corny or when the host of Who wants To Become a Millionaire Anil Kapoor tells the character that he is not willing to let him win the next sum and he walks with the contestant till a cop takes him for questioning is sheer rubbish. It’s too easy to delve that such thing doesn’t happen. Even a child can tell!
However,all is not bad in Slumdog Millionaire.The film has some good moments.
Anil Kapoor performance as the host. The actor displays arrogance and class with much deft and competence.The child artistes are at their natural ease in front of the camera. Newcomer Dev Patel is competent and eases into the character right from the first shot, through his character is more a take on Bachchan’s portrayal in Deewar. Nevertheless, the same cannot be said about Freida Pinto who is just okay and a glamorous doll.
Danny Boyle direction is decent and it’s not something that I will call a master piece. Still, I’ll give him credit for engaging the audience through the film.
The most brilliant aspect of Slumdog Millionaire is the concept of the song Jai Ho, shot at Chittrapathi Shivaji Terminus.It captured the essence and spirit of Mumbaikars who dances and everybody gets into the yellow and marooned local on their way home. At least,credit was given to the life line of Mumbai,the local trains.
Make no mistake.Slumdog Millionaire is not a master-piece. It’s just an average flick with decent direction. Lots of media hyped has contributed to its success and the fact that it has been made by a white British guy.As far as Oscars are concerned,we should not be proud of this fact since it is a British not an Indian movie.The setting and background are Indian.Personally,I don’t think it deserves so much Oscars.Danny Boyle’s interpretation has been assumed true by the west since they had some preconceived nation of India,as the land of farmers and cattles.
I wish to clarify that I don’t have anything against Mr.Boyle or the White Westerners.All are human beings.I am only commenting on Cinema and may good cinema prevails.
Thank you very much.