The ‘Slumdog’ Debate

I had to stop my Kudremukha Travelogue Part 2 midway to write this post. I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire today, on the big screen.Most people have already seen the movie. So this is not a full-fledged review. And thank god I didn’t heed those numerous advices from people (Download it and watch it. Not worth watching in theatre. Its normal masala movie). But therein lies the movie’s strength. This movie is entertaining cinematic experience at its best. Yes, it is a masala entertainer.

‘Tu Mere Saath Daance Karegi Na…’

My idea of judging how great a movie is simple – images from the movies still come to your mind , you are humming the songs from the movie & you think about the characters from the movie long after you left the movie hall. There are such sequences galore in this movie. All the actors do their job very well – nice chemistry between the lead pair, the kid Jamal, a wicked Anil Kapoor’s superlative performance etc.And Rahman’s background score pitches in with perfect timing, everytime. All the little song sequences in the movie are highly entertaining.(Particularly O Saaya in the opening minutes, which sets the tone for the rest of the movie) And the movie as a whole is,to quote a cliche, a visual treat. Overall, loved it. All I can say is either be an intelligent movie goer and know what to expect from the movie and enjoy it or keep cribbing how you’ve know idea how this ‘average masala’ movie is garnering awards in bucketfuls all round the world.

‘Shut up! The Man With The Colt 45 says shut up!’

Now to the big debate. The ‘award worthiness’ of the movie and protests from obscure organizations about Indians being called slumdogs in the movie.By this time, it should be amply evident what kind of Indian movies win recognition in the West – the other side of the world where the Oscars are distributed. A peek into the past to look for the Indian movies that won oscar nominations will make the picture clear- Lagaan,Salaam Bombay,Mother India. My thinking is they see it as artistic cinema – this depiction of the underbelly of rural & slum-ridden India in all its pathos. For instance,even the first glimpse of Taj Mahal in the movie is shown with some filthy water body in the foreground (Or is it the Yamuna???). And when the movie has entertainment value with colorful Bollywood song-and-dance thrown in, its icing on the cake.And to extend this observation to another medium, consider another recent award-winning piece – The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Every sentence in the Man-Booker prize winning literary work drips with not-so-subtle hints about the malodorousness prevalent in the Indian society,veering towards plain yuckiness regularly in its 300-page story. Many people have the same opinion as Slumdog about this book too. The message should be clear by now.

Slumdog Millionaire is now a frontrunnner for the Oscars. So lets root for it. I sure hope Rahman wins an Oscar (yeah yeah, I know he’s given much better movies in the past.Now stop whining :P)

‘It is written’


10 responses to “The ‘Slumdog’ Debate

  1. I would like to make a few points crystal clear w.r.t the film “Slumdog millionaire”.The bad things about the film.India is shown in bad light.My stand to justify this.> In the film, India is referred as a third world.With the global meltdown , the conditions in the so called developed countries will become a lot more worse.(Going by the statistics the increasei n the GDP of the India is a lot more higher than the so called developed countries)> You hear people from the slum conversing in english “Heights dude”. What was the director trying to convey here???? How can one co relate this to our country if he/she does try to make sense from the film.> Almost all the hindi films from the 70s and the 80`s genre did showcase the poverty that existed in the indian families. The lack of lucre was exemplified in these films. (Whats so great in this film)??? It gets nominated for the oscars!!!! I am flabbergasted> India has got a rich cultural heritage.No foreign director even dares to make a film on them.————————————–Aravind Adiga:-> He gets the coveted Booker prize for showcasing India in bad light again.After watching the film I kept pondering as to when will the bias end.Ending this rather long comment with a lot of disgust and hate.

  2. Hey nice blog…your blogs seem to get better and better by the days..even the vocab and the presentation is good…N me too loved the movie, but dont think its worth the oscars..Vinay seems to have taken the film to his heart :( But i kinda agree with him, it feels strange when u see ppl from the slums talkin in english and cannot relate i to India..But I am sure Vinay will make an oscar nominating movie soon…lets ask for a role ;)

  3. @Divya & Vinay,Thanks for your elaborate comments :). Div,if Vinay makes a movie for the oscars,it will be about how slums can be converted into business hubs of India and how to manage them :P :D. I guess I’ve already answered you guys’ ponderings in my post. Its ‘they’ who feel its oscar worthy for reasons which I already mentioned (poverty and slums is art). Wasn’t TZP a better movie than Lagaan? All this notwithstanding,its still a very watchable bollywood movie.As far people in slums conversing in English is concerned, poor guys should understand the movie right??? You don’t have people in movies set in Ancient Rome speaking Roman ;)Vinay,Keep us informed if you are planning to make a movie. We guys are so full of angst and buried hatred that it will set the screen on fire :P :P

  4. @Pavan :- Let the movie be made in the local language with the english sub titles.If v go by stats, some of the best films or the so called classics are in languages other than english with english subtitles…Makes a lot of sense..Do check out the films on “World Movies”, you ll get to watch some of the best classics till date in different languages.Your language has improved by leaps and bounds. Kudos dude. Great going.

  5. This is an English movie, and its not meant to be a classic movie.The tone of the movie should prove thatAnd father,my language was always good :P

  6. F.Y.I.I just quoted about the classics. Never did I want this film to be a classic.Do update ur blog on the topics that I have suggested to u as well. LOL.

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