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Friday, January 30, 2009

Movie Review : Slumdog Millionaire - Beyond me !!!

Frankly, I do not know where to start. I fear a backlash even before I think of the next line. The Oscar, Golden Globe panel has thrown me such a big googly, that I am reeling under its trance....  I am like Ambrose facing Murlitharan!!! And I am like that Ambrose who is totally bewildered of why the others are actually figuring these googlies out... Or are they just pretending to ? Or are they just riding the wave? I simply do not get it....  I never will, much like Ambrose....

I know you must have got the drift of where I am going with this piece on Slumdog M. I purposely will dissect the movie and tell u things I could not digest, because quiet frankly, you guys must have read hundred 5 star reviews....

This movie is the cynosure of everyone's eye right now, and I am not so sure why. Ok, so it has some decent acting, but nothing to go ga-ga about. It has some decent music, but would it even win a Star Screen's Award in India? I can imagine why the audience around the world stands up and applauds the song JAI HO,,, but I simply cannot imagine an Indian staying back to watch the last song, let alone applaud it...

You must all be knowing the story by now. It's this rags to riches story about a Slum Boy who wins Koun Banega Crorepati. It's a total masala caper. It could put "Om Shanti Om" to shame and give tough fight to Rajnikant flicks, because the whole story is simply over the top. Like Danny said " Its an unrealistic story in a very real world."

The music suits the movie, but its mediocre by Indian Standards and even A.R.Rahman would never have imagined it being at the verge of winning 2 Oscars. 

What I really think is laudable is how an Outsider has got into the Bollywood mode with such ease. It shows the greatness of Danny Boyle. Executing this film would have been really tough in the areas he shot it, but he has done it with aplomb. Also, I think he has an infatuation with Shit and Shit-holes. Watch "Trainspotting" his most famous film before SM, and you will see the protagonist(Ewan McGregor) in that film shitting in a filthy toilet and then actually putting his head into it to recover his drug pills. If this movie wins an Oscar, I am sure he will make his Protagonist go through Shit (literally) in every film he makes !!!

Yes, maybe in these times of gloom, this movie gave the Western audience some hope, some joy, but what has happened to the Indian media is beyond me. Its just an average Bollywood film with a Hollywood production. If this were a Bollywood production, you would go absolutely beserk when a policeman would ask any Indian how does he know who starred in Deewar!!! For god sake who does not know that? Especially a slum dweller from Dharavi who speaks immaculate English!!! Why didnt they question his very English Accent then? For me its taking Cinematic Liberty to the extreme. Also, tell me frankly. Doesn't Jamal's brother look and act more like an Afro -American / Brazilian gangsta kid than an Indian kid? 

What the movie excels in doing, is keeping you engaged. The screen play is good and the editing is crisp. The international touch shows. The story telling / narrative of the film is great, but if you think of it , if you make this film, how else would you have it? First he winning the quiz and then his story or an intermingled plot? Would we have celebrated the film in such a way if it would have been made by a Bollywood director in Hindi? No ways....

That, Mr.Aamir Khan, went to this films premier is great. Now I hope, he will not be eager to win the Oscar anymore, neither would he hold it on such a high pedestal, coz clearly its going the Filmfare way!! To say that its an above average film would be digestable, but to see it win Oscars would be the biggest googly of my life ! Though I will be rooting for A.R.Rahman , please excuse me for disowning this film as a representation of top-class Bollywood cinema.

There is no doubt this is a decent film and I have only tried to be a devils advocate here..Maybe if Taare Zameen Par would have also been nominated, I would not have been so bitter. Maybe I have overanalysed the film..Maybe I analysed it for the non-existant 10/10 rating, rather than enjoy the average 6 / 10 rating. Maybe I should have enjoyed the film for what it is, rather than try to find why is it on the top of world cinema right now... forgive me....

Rating: 6 /10 
My Say : Average Over the top stuff....


Pavan said...

Vicky, i think u saw the film from a film-makers point of view.
If u see the film from the eyes of the audience then u'll realize that it's actually quite entertaining. If u stop thinking abt the nuances and focus on the big picture then u wud b able to connect as to why people liked it.

Infact kudos to Danny for gripping the audience is such a way that they forget the nuances.

A movie's first and the last objective is to entertain - And Slumdog Millionaire does exactly that.
It really doesnt matter - Whether the story is over the top or Jamal had an english accent or his brother luks afro-american or the song Jai Ho is ordinary.

Like Danny said its an unrealistic story in a real world...he was bang on target.

The audience wants paisa-vasool entertainment. Theres no point in making a technically correct & brilliant movie which cannot grip audiences and thus does not satisfy them.

Infact Slumdog Millionaire is an important lesson abt film-making.
How to make something big our of something so small. Thats intelligent movie making i wud say.

ArvIND said...

Dada I agree with you the accent bit was weirs - I have posted the exact same comment on SA.

As far as music is concerned O Saya is a pretty neat tune by any standard..

Overall I think it is more than a decent watch - Id give it at least 7.5

I think the concept of knowing the answers having gone through the situations in life is an indeed very strange idea- -

Pavan said...

I agree with Arvind's rating of 7.5

And Arvind, ur bang on when u say that the concept of knowing the answers having gone through the situations in life is an indeed very strange idea. And this strange idea clicked with the audiences.

Virinder Urf Funda-Mentor said...

People liking it and it getting an OSCAR are 2 completely different thingss,,, I dont deny that its a cool entertainer, but I cannot understand how can it be nominated for 10 OSCARS. Can it ever come close to a GODFATHER, a RAGING BULL or for that matter a FIGHT CLUB? 10 OSCARS? That shows how commercialised the most coveted award has become.

Yes, there are good things about it . O saaya is cool, infact there is one song called "MAUSAM" thats brilliant.

The Q & A is itself very appealing, no matter how outrageous be the deduction of the answer...

Would we be even discussing all this if this would have been released as a Bollywood film, by a Bollywood director? I dont think so. It would have gone into the Library as a small budget film with a few wilted stars and would have probably just earned enough to break even! What I do not agree is "whatever the west likes, we gotta like " attitude. I am sure if OMKARA is made in English by Vishal Bharadwaj, the Gora's wont appreciate it and would rather go for some Indian shit made by a Gora!

Shikha said...

Well i havent really seen the film..but I would think vicky is right when he says that oscar is an award where u expect the best cinema in the world to be nominated. And indeed it is sad that it has become commercialised in a way. There are films whch are thousand times better than slumdog which are made in regional languages and we as Indians dont know them. Its indeed a sorry state of affairs.

Ruchika Wadhwa said...

Hey I agree..the music is far from the best of Rahman's compositions till date..2 Oscar nominations for maybe a bit over-average stuff?! Jai Ho, for one, is a bit screechy..Rahman deserves a whole lot of awards..but surely this soundtrack is not his golden child.

Virinder Urf Funda-Mentor said...

And one more thing which I realised while talking to a friend, are we actually surprised that the movie actually proves what image of india is all about in the west,... Slums, Poverty, Taj Mahal and Call centres!!! Woah....!!Now am I just imagining things or is this a mere coincidence?

Shikha said...

naam hee kaafi hai to put me off..slumdog..wat the hell does that mean anyway ?!!

andy said...


Bang On!!

An over the top Bollywood Masala Film with excellent screenplay.Personally I feel,the critics and audience worldwide are floored by the fact that a fellow firang has captured the basic essence of an otherwise mysterious underbelly of the great city Mumbai. Moreso on the global map after the recent attacks.But just like you, I fail to understand the appreciation showered by the Indian critics and audience. We Indians will remain wannabes.
Is this movie better than Aamir, Satya , Taare Zameen Par
logically or technically.It is entertaining but so was Om Shanti Om and Ghajini. Had Sriram Raghavan made the same film exactly the same way, would it have received the same accolades globally and more importantly in India ? If Slumdog wins an Oscar , Coppolas and the Scorceses will regret having won an Oscar previously.
Rahmaan is GOD but there's nothing to take home except the background score during the slum kids chase in the entire movie.If Rahmaan performs Maa Tujhe Salaam at the opening ceremony instead of Jai Ho at the Oscars,the world will know what Rahmaan is all about.
The movie is entertaining just like several other movies dished out by Bollywood already.
All I can say is Danny Boyle will make a succesful filmmaker in Bollywood like a Karan Johar cos' he seems to know what sells but he is not even 10% of a Scorcese or a Copolla.


Pavan said...

The fact dat there arent other really great films released last year is helping Slumdog's case. Plus a whole lot of promotions were done by Fox Studios to get Slumdog maximum nominations in Oscar.
The fact remains that a gora went shot the film in places where no Indian film maker had gone before (except RGV) is a shameful thing for bollywood.
Box office figures of Slumdog arent impressive. It has picked up only after winning golden globe. And now, Fox studios has gone all out to get Oscar nominations to further boost Slumdog's box office & HOME VIDEO sales figures. Its all busines guys. Pls dont get so emotional. Its just a coincidence that India, Mumbai & India's poverty is the subject.
I have a feeling Slumdog may not win the best picture award.But who cares..

Rahman shud get an award for music..I think this is his one of all time great music compositions. (Listen to Mausam, mentioned by Vicky...Fusion of Sitar & Drums..Even the song Paper Planes-gunshots in between or even the song Liquid Dance...simply amazing stuff) Rahman is truly a path breaker...

ArvIND said...

Agreed the movie has shown poverty,slums etc etc - It has also shown a millionaire! Don't ignore that.

Rahman may have created better tunes that is totally irrelevant to his nomination - Perhaps the other tunes created this year are not better. Look at this as an opportunity for Rahman to be discovered by western world.Sachin scores a scratchy 100 & wins a match for India - should we be disappointed that he didnt bat the way he did against Australia in Sharjah in 1998..Hell NO!!

LA Confidential was a wonderful movie however it was released in the same year as Titanic hence could not win that many awards. Some years the quality of movies will not match the quality of the previous years & one of the reasons for that could be the subject doesnt appeal much to you or one's bias tends to cloud judgement. Absolutely no need to involve Scorcese & Godfather - Judge it for what it is not what we want it to be.
Lastly this is a UK based movie so if UK film industry is pushing/promoting it should we make a hue & cry about it - - didn't we try to do the same thing with Paheli & Jeans.

Karen said...

I don't consider Slumdog a "Bollywood" film per se. It has Indians in the lead but it's a British film. A great independent film! It deserves all the awards and acclaim it got. But one of the things I like about Bollywood movies are the dance numbers because I'm a big fan of musicals. And I'm really glad that Slumdog is helping Freida Pinto land some roles because Hollywood needs more ethnically diverse leading ladies.


The Commentator said...

Hi, thanks for being honest about what u felt. I don't agree about the rating - it deserves a 8 being far more entertaining than Ghajini, RNBDJ etc. But the awards are really "beyond me". It's crisp masala script with a weak story. I'm afraid Rahman might take it seriously - then we'll lose a gem!

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