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3.13.2009

Slumdog Millionaire- Good

Books are useless to us until our own book opens. You don't have to search for the answers in life, because your life has the answers within. Slumdog Millionaire is the riveting life-story of an 18-year-old Mumbai ’slumdog’ and chaiwallah Jamal (Dev Patel) An illiterate slum kid from Mumbai goes on the local TV version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and comes off like a brainiac despite being baffled by the show's host (Anil Kapoor)His roots deep in slums, he must be cheating in some way to get at the right answers and so the police inspector (Irrfan Khan) thinks he is a fraud and determined to beat the truth out of Jamal before he goes back on the show and hits the jackpot of 20 million rupees. But how does Jamal know the answers to difficult questions that would puzzle even the most educated Indian?



Ehmm… I won’t tell you how Jamal knows but he tells on the story to the police inspector, the proof through which we learn the past of Jamal and the other principal characters in flashbacks. Jamal answers questions on the TV show not from book knowledge, but from his own life experiences. There is an element of freshness in the way the story is presented; and kudos to Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who brings Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A to life and keeps audience glued. Boyle's direction keeps the film dynamic and engaging. The film is mostly in English, partly in Hindi and was directed by a Brit, Danny Boyle, with the help of an Indian co-director, Loveleen Tandan.




The use of flashbacks to tell the story takes you on a journey of mixed emotions. They used three sets of actors of three different ages to move the story. The use of the youngest actors (actually slum kids from Mumbai)
casts a bewitching spell on us. These kids were incredible showing both the beauty and the horrors of growing up in Bombay. Compared to Ayush (Jamal) and Azharuddin (Salim), Dev Patel (who plays the grownup Jamal) and Freida Pinto (cast as the older Latika, the love of Jamal’s life who steps up from being a child prostitute to plaything of a gangster) prove to be disappointing. But it was eclipsed by the strong screenplay, soul-stirring music.



The film is a visual wonder as Anthony Dod Mantle’s camera move with speed and stealth through the slums and clogged streets of Mumbai. It captures the very essence of India- the filthy slums and their wretched poverty, showing the ‘new’ India rising over the ugly slums of Mumbai in an extraordinary manner rarely seen on the big screen in India (City Of God stands above this) If Charles Dickens has given the other LONDON in his OLIVER TWIST, a city like Mumbai, with its shifting skyline and a population of more than fifteen million, is as ripe for storytelling and Daniel Boyle worked miracles with his stuffs

 

Danny Boyle is not a Bollywood director (since the movie is fine) and has outstandingly executed the script by presenting the radical elements of life in India today. Boyle understands the power and beauty of the medium and he knows the perfect mix of a great story. The emotions as varied as joy, pity, happiness, anger, revulsion, surprise are framed picture perfect thanks to Chris Dickens' editing. The Bollywood craze and the Hindu-Muslim violence (the dialog If it weren’t for Ram and Allah, we’d have a mother stands the best) throws us to a state of shock and grief.

 

And of course, there’s A.R.Rahman’s music as well. Critics’ slam this is not ARR’s best. Ok! Accepted! He has given better songs than in SDM but think; the music should stick to the script. Chaiya Chaiya and Thaal can’t be used in SDM and it will be laughable to see the kids dancing in train. When you ought to score 100, you have to. But if the target is 85, how can you score 100? Rahman’s music propels the film and he has given what have to be. The music is perfect for the script (but not for the fellas who criticize his music because they watch the film for music and songs. Entertainment Quotient)



The film is not free from flaws. It is very hard to digest slum kids talking in English, the local mafia speaking in English. After winning the game-show, the boy sits on the railway platform and nobody recognizes him, considering the popularity of the show. To qualify for the show one has to answer several GK questions over phone or Internet. Even after making it to the show, a contestant can reach the hot-seat, only after "fastest finger first". All this is conveniently forgotten in the film.


The film has the goods to bust out as a scrappy contender in the Oscar race. The film deserves its Oscar for Best Sound Mixing (Don’t argue for Sound Editing; The Dark Knight is way ahead) Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Music (Score) hands down. It is a close call between WALL-E (Down To Earth) and Jai Ho for Music (Song) and IMO, award for Best Direction and Best Film is shocking and not fitting, because the nominated films in those categories speak volume and better than SDM; the problem being they are slow and documentary.

 

If you love good movies, if a gripping narrative on the screen gives you gooseflesh and raises the hair on your hands, go watch Slumdog Millionaire. And better stop criticizing the film. Sorry! You can fellas, because you prefer ugly cesspool like RNBDJ.


Mr. Critic 5-Star: ****

 

PS-1: After production on the film wrapped in February 2007, the film was left out in the cold when financier Warner Independent Pictures dropped it. The move was eventually picked up by Fox Searchlight Pictures and produced by Christian Colson


PS-2: It is tough to understand why only this movie was picked up for special criticism for its portrayal of slums and poverty in India. Many films in India already dealt with this subject but who cared to watch it? They like if a heroine shakes her boobs, some hero jumps five feet off kicking the villain’s butt. Even Satyajit Ray was blamed for selling India’s culture. This is not the first movie to do so. Many Indian film makers have depicted poverty, the underworld and corruption in great detail, things that India is not proud of but have received very little acclaim in the West for their work. With a British director delving into an Indian story, however, this story now deserves an Oscar. Oh mates, give it a rest. You have hearts to celebrate OBAMA's victory in US saying his ancestors have their roots in Asia but not a film?? We have to face truth; slums do exist. Poverty and Hunger are harsh realities. The criticism that the movie has received because of the portrayal of the slums in India indicates how reluctant we are to face reality. What is wrong in showing what is actually happening in the society? Some of us would have been even oblivious to the conditions of the slums before watching the movie. If we are capable of doing goods, stop talking start thinking. May be on May, voting responsibly may be a good way to start.

 

THANKS! KEEP VISITING!

25 Droplets:

Lancelot said...

me the first

viji said...

la la la..chelloooo

Lancelot said...

Dai manasatchi thottu sollu

//The Bollywood craze and the Hindu-Muslim violence (the dialog If it weren’t for Ram and Allah, we’d have a mother stands the best) throws us to a state of shock and grief.//

Bombay la kanpikaathathayada intha movie la kanbichitaan??? athu parthapa ungalukku onnum thonnala Mani Ratnam mella bomb erinjingaa...

enna koduma sir ithu... Anbe Sivam la Kamal oru dialogue sollvar Maddy parthu,

"Neenga vellinaatu kaaranga thooki podura elumbu thundaa vangittu vaalatra..." appadinu..athan nyabagathukku varuthu :))

G3 said...

Me the attendance :)))

Vinnie said...

Good review, Karthik:)

i especially like ur POST SCRIPTS :)

Ghazala Khan said...

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Karthik said...

karthik, i don't like this movie though it's technically brilliant. isnt it full of cliches?

agreed abt ar rahman's score. you cant do a 'dil se' for sdm.

Priya Joyce said...

lovely..hey and new look to the blog it has been a long tym since I came here hah! blame ma exams.

niways nice post
:)

Senorita said...

@ Kartik...I have watched parts of the film...somehow never got rounds to sitting through the whole movie... agree the bits I have seen are good :)

Saranya said...

I loved that movie, honestly. It seemed real, though I am not too sure how real it is in the real-bombay. But as a film I thought it was great.

Thoorika said...

Books are useless to us until our own book opens. You don't have to search for the answers in life, because your life has the answers within.

where did u suttufy these lines from eh?!

adilmalik said...

download slum Slumdog Millionaire
http://adilmalik.co.cc/

kamal kannan said...

There is a difference between clever film-making and great film-making. Make no mistake, Danny Boyle is immensely clever. “Slumdog Millionaire” is made as an out-and-out “crowd-pleaser” through proper audience-targeting which is done in the same careful way the vijays target the lovey-dovey high school/college crowd and the Vijay kanths target the uber-patriots.

kamal kannan said...

And as the great bong says

Let’s say I made a movie about the US where an African-American boy born in the hood, has his mother sell him to a pedophile pop icon, after which he gets molested by a priest from his church, following which he gets tied up to the back of a truck and dragged on the road by KKK clansmen. Then he is arrested and sodomized by a policeman with a rod, after which he is attacked by a gang of illegal immigrants, and then uses these life experiences to win “Beauty and The Geek”.

Even though each of these incidents have actually happened in the United States of America, I would be accused of spinning a fantastic yarn that has no grounding in reality, that has no connection to the “American experience” and my motivations would be questioned, no matter how cinematically spectacular I made my movie.

kamal kannan said...

Today When I was watching this India-New Zealand Cricket match the statdium was full of Indians who were shouting like hell. The NZ commentator apparently thrilled at seeing such a large crowd for a cricket match in their country tries to explain the crowds enthusiasm

” I love these Indians…Look how they cheer their heroes..Jus like they show in that movie slumdog millionaire where that boy jumps into that thing just to get an autograph…these things must be new to us Newzealanders..boy oh boy..!!”

Now now that for me is a typical western mindset and slumdog just enforces that myth.

Lancelot said...

@ kamal Kannan

//And as the great bong says

Let’s say I made a movie about the US where an African-American boy born in the hood, has his mother sell him to a pedophile pop icon, after which he gets molested by a priest from his church, following which he gets tied up to the back of a truck and dragged on the road by KKK clansmen. Then he is arrested and sodomized by a policeman with a rod, after which he is attacked by a gang of illegal immigrants, and then uses these life experiences to win “Beauty and The Geek”.

Even though each of these incidents have actually happened in the United States of America, I would be accused of spinning a fantastic yarn that has no grounding in reality, that has no connection to the “American experience” and my motivations would be questioned, no matter how cinematically spectacular I made my movie.//

who said this??? excellent words...hope our youngistan opens his eyes and see :)

Aparnaa said...

Good review.. I liked the film and as u said it dont deserve the OSCARS for Best direction and film!! :) Fake fight with lance again??

"Neenga vellinaatu kaaranga thooki podura elumbu thundaa vangittu vaalatra..." appadinu..athan nyabagathukku varuthu :))


He he!! Enakku enga Physics Sir sonnadhu thaan nyabagam varudhu


India Kaaran nandriye illama patni pothu saavadikiraan.. anda idhayam illada India kaaran kita saapdrada vida nalla irukkura velinaathu kaaran podra elumbha saapda uyiraavadhu vaalalam.. Survival of the fittest!!

Poorna said...

Hi Karthik! Even I feel this film doesn't deserve an oscar........ in my opinion it is a very ordinary film...our bollywood films would be way better than this film .....

And please visit my blog...... something in store for u:)

விஜய் said...

Karthik,
I too saw the movie. It is such a mediocre movie and just doesn't fit to be called a great one. Oscars were poured over the movie, just due to undue hype and over publicity and A.R. Rahman completely disappointed in this. His scores in Rang De Basanti, Kannaththil...., Alaipayuthe, Roja are all 200 times better than the one, he has scored in this.

Forget about the Indians being shown in a pathetic way et al. But the film fails live upto the basic expectation of an ordinary audience.

lynda ann amma said...

this was tailor made for American audiences of which I am one.Sorry to admit it captivated me--and the msic inspired the soul AND MAY FOSTER AN INTEREST in India.I have met many Indian people here in U.S. --WOW-THEY ARE GREAT.
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING,
Linda Amma

Zanychild said...

zooper, I luv the movie
Thnks for the comments!
ungala tag panna poren, neenga karuthula pata ezhuthunga :P

kanagu said...

@karthik

great review boss. Even I liked the film but I can consider this as a entertaining movie and not as an oscar material.. but they have poured awards on this film..

@thoorika

/*Books are useless to us until our own book opens. You don't have to search for the answers in life, because your life has the answers within.

where did u suttufy these lines from eh?!*/

why so much nambikkai on Karthik :P

R-ambam said...

nice review . hav not watched the movie yet .

Karthik said...

@ ALL except LANCELOT:

Thanks for ur comment... keep dropping!!

AMIT said...

This movie was good but title name should be different.Because they told us Dog.

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