Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Reviewing ‘Slumdog’

The whole world’s been talking about this movie for a long long time. The banter, applause and sheer admiration (not to mention the 4 Golden Globes!) for the movie grew to such ear-jarring levels that even I, a reticent movie-watcher – to put it crude, couldn’t resist.

I just finished watching “Slumdog Millionaire” a couple of minutes back.

And, what a movie it was! As the end-credits rolled to the resounding “Jai Ho!” track by A.R.R., I couldn’t suppress a loud applause (which, needless to say, attracted quite a lot of brickbats from my exasperated mom!)!

To cut a long story short, It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent times. 🙂

No, I’m not saying this because now it’s ‘fashionable’ to say “SM Rocks!” with some amount of jingoism. In fact, I knew the story of the movie right when I read about in the back pages of ‘The Hindu‘, long back. I’d read Q&A by Vikas Swarup, the novel on which the movie is based on, a couple of years back. Frankly, I didn’t like the book. The story and the premise were appealing, indeed. But the narrative faltered at times and Swarup’s language was not exactly what you’d be expecting from a Hi-fi diplomat. So, as SM bagged accolades by the day, my response continued to have more surprise than excitement. Until I was bowled over by the movie, that is.

I loved the movie for the way Danny Boyle (the director) has weaved the intricacies of the story. I loved the brilliant camera work by Anthony Dod Mantle and the chemistry between Jamaal (Dev Patel) and Latika, played by Freida Pinto. (Despite Pinto’s average looks, I just adored her!! Especially at that scene where Jamaal looks down on her from a top floor of CST. She looked so cute in that Yellow Kurti, flashing a smile looking upwards!! Precisely like someone, umm… I like! :P) The book’s movie-adaptation is brilliant. All the faltered narrative has been soothed and all those gory and improbable nuances of the story have been suitably pruned. In fact, apart from the premise of a ‘Slumdog’ becoming a ‘millionaire’ (This is one of the movies whose story is right there in its title!) and the general stream of narrative, there’s little similarity between the book and the movie. The credit for this goes to Simon Beaufoy.

And last, but actually the BEST part about the movie is the Music. A.R.R. rocks!! And he rocks with panache! I was swept off my feat when I first heard the soundtrack. Ever since, my bedroom’s been booming with all those tracks from “Jai Ho!” to “Ringa ringa…” (my favourite!!). Mr A.S. Dileep Kumar, a.k.a.
Alla Rakha Rahman, HATS OFF!! I bow before thee!

Of course, the movie has quite a lot of subtle-India bashing with the underbelly of ‘Maximum City’ ripped open to public view. In fact, this point has come in for a lot of derision. Many purists are condemning Slumdog, along with Adiga‘s White Tiger, for the negative portrayal of the country. I saw the India-bashing element as a feather in the movie’s cap actually. There’s no way of questioning creative freedom. And truth doesn’t become truth by suppressing it. It has to be shown open to the world!

However, all is not perfect. There are plot holes. Lots of them. To mention one, how come Indians, (SLUMDOGS, mind you!!) speak English all the time? Alright sir, the movie’s British; that’s for widespread-understandability and there are traces of Hindi thrown in here and there. But again, THE slum dog, Jamaal speaks with a tinge of British accent! Despite all his training to master the Indian tone, he hasn’t fully succeeded! True, his subtle and understated style of acting endeared me, but from a movie vying for the Oscars, you expect some more perfection.

Then there’s the most prominent one of all. Who Wants to be a Millionaire is a pre-recorded show. Here’s it’s being shown as LIVE! And, Anil Kapoor, (the SRK/Amitabh clone) is the one who calls the police, suspecting the veracity of our Slumdog on a winning-spree. When, exactly does he do that? There’s just one commercial break shown in the movie and that’s being spent with Jamal & Anil sharing the loo.

Alright, that’s enough criticism. In fact, you’d forget all these minor blunders at the sheer awesomeness of the movie! There are enough goose bump-moments. Especially the scene where Jamaal is crowned ‘millionaire’. I loved the French Kiss at the end too, even though it wasn’t exactly ‘perfect’, per se! 😉

In retrospect, I can boldly say that every part about this movie is too good. Yes, even the plot holes. Which is why I’m generously giving it a 9.99/10.

Won’t be surprised if Slumdog bags a couple of Oscars!

9 Comments

  1. Corpus Gray

    Indians speaking english isn’t a plot hole.
    I think it’s just the director’s creative liberty.
    If the movie was originally shot with all-Hindi dialogues, and subtitled, it wouldn’t have got this much of an audience.

  2. ~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~

    Well its time someone brought to light the real underbelly of shining India. I really hope more such movies come out. Even if there are numerous books written about the poor state of affairs in India, noone knows about it coz Indians are too busy to read and/or don’t have the money to buy the books. I could find Adiga’s portrayal of North India too good to believe. But once you goto the places mentioned in the book you’ll wonder how a Southie like him could write such a realistic version.

    I do hope the movie wins more than a couple of Oscar’s. From what i’ve heard and read its far far better than any Eklavya could ever be 🙂

    PS: Rahman is THE man when it comes to awesome music. Loved the songs 🙂

  3. mathew

    I want to watch this movie badly..though seems like quite a good chunk or negative opinions on it as well.. 🙁

  4. Hari Vishnu

    well is it thaat great? frankly, i say no man.. there have been equally good bollywood movies, even in recent times.. but none of them have been recognised so much as this.. woah, 10 oscar nominations is taking it a bit too far man.. on my scale it wudnt go beyond 8.5.. and definitely i wudnt call it one of the best indian cinema ever made.. even though its up there definitely..

  5. Sibin

    Pls watch the movie “Sunshine”. It was directed by Danny Boyle. I just cant believe it was directed by him after I watched Slumdog Millionaire!!

  6. thomman

    I watched the movie today morn and I liked it. The plot is smashing (I wouldn’t say it’s too believable though, but what the heck, it’s smashing). Actually the disturbing scene for me was when the crook was about to take the eye of that kid, and it really happens in real life which is the worst thing. About ARR, the music is good, but it’s not the best of him, but again what the heck, he’s going to teh oscars!!. And no, i won’t be surprised for the oscars, not by a long shot.

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