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!