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Slumdog Millionaire

January 23, 2009

How can you not get swept away with such a movie? Such a story? This tale is not about Mumbai and Dharavi….or India….This tale is a universal one.
Put the characters in any country,any continent and they will still speak the same language.
Dickensian in character,the movie is not a ‘feel good’ movie.
Don’t damn or drag down the movie with such lame praise please.

It rises above the mere ‘feel good’ formula.
It speaks,it shouts,it pulses…with life…
It says persist and you shall win.
Strive and you shall achieve.
It follows a love story at the core,that’s where it’s heart lies.
A boy and a girl.
That is all.And yet much more…

It’s a movie which has been beautifully directed,even more beautifully cinematographed.

The music pulses,the beats pound somewhere in the background…but one is too engrossed in the story to pay complete attention and yet somehow the music is a central character all by itself too.There is the constant rattle of a train track,trains passing….all everyday realities for those who live beside it…all beautifully interwoven into the music.
This is why they call Allah Rakha Rehman a genius.This is why.

Slumdog Millionaire is made straight from the heart and that shines through.
The emotions hit you in the gut.
After a second or so of pondering over characters who manage to speak in almost perfect english,you get over it.

This movie is not about the so called ‘Real India’ that we want to hide in a corner.It most certainly is not a glorification of the slums and the poverty.
It is just a very human tale of a boy who was forced to grow up too fast.

A boy who wants to believe despite having suffered countless betrayals.He wants to love and be loved but there are hurdles,many of them.

Your eyes will get blurry quite a few times.
This is not just about ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.It is about the underdog whom we all secretly love.The one whose back we have got.The one who carries our hopes too when he wins.

You almost physically ,mentally and in every possibe way ,will him to win.
Win not just at ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ but in all spheres of life that matter.

This movie is totally unreservedly ‘Bollywood’ or if you prefer to call it’Hindi Movies’,actually all our movies, all Indian movies.:)
It has tadka(again if you want to call it that:) ),masala ,hope, a love lost, a love found,villains,the changing faces of humanity…everything.

Each character has a part to play.Each one has his and her own foibles.
Irfan Khan,Dev Patel(as an adult Jamaal),Madhur Mittal(an adult Salim),Freida Pinto(Latika),Saurabh Shukla,Mahesh Manjrekar and Anil Kapoor…..

Only Anil Kapoor could have pulled this off… shades of megalomania….a bit psychotic ,the one whom you hate and like in equal measure.

The grand eloquent gestures when Jamaal wins at each stage,answers questions…and the pettiness displayed when you least expect it.

I think Mr Bachchan would have overshadowed the movie(That is ,had he been asked to be a part of it..:D )

The way Jamaal and Salim become guides…you’ll have a few chuckles there.:)
The way these two brothers stick together.
A bond of Athos and Parthos.
Watch and fall in love with Jamaal at different ages.The child,the teenager and the adult.He steals your heart as a little kid.

Danny Boyle has made a movie for everyone,not just for India.
He hasn’t tried to make that deliberate effort at ‘Indianness’.
India is not being admired here on different platforms,by different juries.
It’s the human story that’s touching a chord in more ways than one.
This is why it’s winning accolades,winning awards….

It’s a hymn, it’s a paean to life.It’s a song,a pulsating one.

Go. Watch how a boy gets all the answers out of life itself.:)

EDITED TO ADD:- Be prepared for a scene in the beginning itself when Jamaal is a kid which might gross you out.

Nita’s review which is brilliant and in-depth is here…..Read it to get the complete picture…

Read Shobhaa De’s Review here…..She shows what the movie is all about…and she being a Mumbaikar,I think in this instance she is right..
Apu’s World

Slumdog Millionaire-Trailer
All Images courtesy Flixster

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 23, 2009 5:37 am

    Have been waiting to see it, and it’s not going to visit my little town in the near future. However my son’s friend has managed a copy from somewhere, and I will watch it, hopefully, this Sunday 🙂 Looking forward to it, more so, having read this 🙂

    Pssst. You write good reviews too:) What the heck! You write good. Period.


  2. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 23, 2009 5:39 am

    And how come my new post isnt showing up on your blogroll, I wonder! It’s about TA-5, on A Quest 🙂 Lol! When time and inclination come together!

  3. Ajit permalink
    January 23, 2009 6:05 am

    🙂 lol…. i have watched the film and your “review” does describe the film pretty well…. 😛
    after all, the hero has to win…….:P
    in reel or real life…

  4. Ana Cristina permalink
    January 23, 2009 6:05 am

    I loved this movie so much, it hurt! I got the soundtrack, blogged about it, and recommended it to all my friends. It deserves the recognition it got at the Golden Globe Awards, and I hope it wins the Oscar for Best Film.

  5. January 23, 2009 6:24 am

    Yup, loved the movie 🙂
    I thought I couldn't watch the whole movie after the scene when they are taken as little kids & tested as to who sings well… But it was so gripping that I couldn't stop watching it either..
    Its like reality hits us in the face and we realise that yes, we are fortunate but there are many less fortunate who go through traumas and yet don't give up hope…
    And who says it degrades the country? I agree with what Frieda Pinto said in an interview that in Mumbai we have high rises on one side & slums on the other & both co-exist

  6. twenty second line permalink
    January 23, 2009 8:55 am

    i heard one of the songs blaring out of a car on a weeken night in NY city. i was a pedestrian and gave the driver a thumbs up little knowing that it was a slumdog millionaire song. and when rehman said “to the billions of people of india” i beamed. sitting on my living room sofa.

    there is no doubt that amitabh bacchan would have overshadowed the whole movie !

    And so for many people saying that this is a gross depiction of the poverty – i say – this is not the first time – poverty exists because of the malfunction of policies adopted by the governing body. the problem does not lie in poverty itself but the set of bodies who push people down.
    india is a poor country -there is nothing to hide about it. tell me an indian who has not passed by a slum or who has not had the services of a slum dweller. let them pick up the first stone to throw – like in the parable of the monk and who sinned.


  7. Solilo permalink
    January 23, 2009 9:47 am

    Thanks Abhi. At the moment I am ecstatic at 10 academy nominations. I still ahve to catch the movie. I am always late in that dept.

  8. Vinod_Sharma permalink
    January 23, 2009 4:09 pm

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I think your outstanding ‘review’, not as a critic but as an intelligent, sensitive cine goer, says perhaps all that the movie wants to!

  9. Indyana permalink
    January 23, 2009 4:53 pm

    You couldn’t have put it any better! Loved it too! All the actors were just their part! Superb,all in all!

  10. hitch writer permalink
    January 23, 2009 6:50 pm

    I still havent seen the movie, but whats wrong with us.

    We confuse things don’t we?

    Why the fuss about how India is projected ? Its a movie…

    Its imagination… Agneepath, Amitabh’s movie showed a very ugly village which was not real I assume.

    All over the years we wanted Oscars and Golden Globes. Now when we get it we have problems why they are giving and for what reasons ??

    Thank God Rehman is only making music and Gulzar is only writing lyrics, If it were some Indian Director … I dont know what would have happened to him …

    Some jingoist’s would surely have made his life difficult ….

    Now ain’t I projecting India in a bad way ??


  11. Kislay permalink
    January 23, 2009 7:36 pm

    Elegant . I haven’t seen the movie as yet . I plan to watch it tomorrow . But from what I have read of it on other blogs , it seems that Danny Boyle strung together all the negative stereotypes about India . But in the end , I would say , it is just a movie .

  12. Indyeah permalink
    January 23, 2009 10:26 pm

    Usha Pisharody:-Worth watching,definitely a movie that speaks…..
    and thank you…:)
    reviews….:D….and I write well?
    look who’s saying this…:D….the poetess…..the lyricist….

    We have had so many conversations since yesterday..:D…and still haven’t run out of words….:D

    I loved them all…..and so as Vinod Sir says and now you too…..Meggy I am…:)

    Thank you,so much Vinod Sir…:)

    Ajit:-…what buddy?you saying the review ain’t bad…:P

    I did enjoy the movie….It was better than a maasala fare(though on some days I enjoy them too:) )

    It’s a realistic movie as far as the surroundings have been shown…
    the situations are not any more ludicrous than they would be in a Hindi movie…are they?:D
    Yah the hero always has to win in all our movies…:)

    PS:-maybe the heroine will win too someday?..:)

    Ana Cristina:-Your admiration for the movie is visible in your words…yes,I also hope that it does win…keeping my fingers crossed….
    and yes,the music is awesome isn’t it?:)

    N:-Yes,at that point I too wanted to get out….not watch any further….but it turned out to be worth it …….Its gripping.its realistic,reality slaps you ….yes,very well said…

    about the glorification?We have fanatics who have half baked ideas of what nationalism is ..various political parties…two bit ones really…are staging demonstrations,dharnas….going on rampages…..their idea of national pride is pretty warped…they would rather not face the truth….

    Anrosh:-You have said it all Anrosh…yes,the music is awesome….I too feel proud that it gone where it has…

    Yes,Amitabh Bachchan has too huge and towering a personality to have been able to slip into this role..

    ”tell me an indian who has not passed by a slum or who has not had the services of a slum dweller. let them pick up the first stone to throw – like in the parable of the monk and who sinned.”
    True….we would rather turn our heads and pretend it doesnt exist….

    You know the funny part is that we Indians get all outraged when poverty is depicted specially by ‘phirang’ directors….when in reality poverty does exist..

    if we did not have poverty to the extent we have today and THEN someone had depicted it then we had a RIGHT to get angry….but why now??

  13. Indyeah permalink
    January 23, 2009 10:46 pm

    Solilo:-You are most welcome..I am happy too…
    do catch it when you can..:)

    Vinod Sir:-Thank you so,so much once again..:)
    I tried to not write a ‘review’in the general sense as you did point out..:)just write about my impressions of it….It is worth watching sir…specially better than the Karan Johar,Nikhil Advani movies that one watches as daily fare…(though to be honest I watch them too:D)

    Indyana:-Yes,it was,wasn’t it?:)
    I think here in India,we tend to go too much into the nitty gritties of it…why not just enjoy a movie as it should be?Just an imaginary story?
    I liked it too..:)

    Hitchwriter:-Very,very true…..There is some insecurity left in us still….I believe…..
    we pout when we are ignored…we pout again when we are noticed…

    ”All over the years we wanted Oscars and Golden Globes. Now when we get it we have problems why they are giving and for what reasons ?? ”
    Yes, so true… creative people must have wanted these so many times….and now when we are at a platform,then we remember our ‘Bhartiyata’
    lol!No you are not….
    :)enjoy the movie..:)

    Kislay:-Yes, Kislay there are the Hindu-muslim riots,where Hindus are shown as the perpetrators,the poverty ,the squalor,the underbelly of Mumbai,the red light areas,a lot iof things in short….but these exist…don tthey?
    The day we succeed in solving some of these problems will be the day we have the right to shout that its an unfair portrayal…

    and yes,as you so aptly said…at the end of the day this is just a movie…

    If some people in other nations,form their opinions of India based on one movie,then I can only wonder about their IQ and feel sorry for them….

    Its like thinking USA is like ‘American Pie’!!….:)

  14. Balvinder Singh permalink
    January 23, 2009 11:17 pm

    On the occasion of the Republic Day of our country, i take this opportunity to present this award to my blogger friends who have made a difference by writing their frank opinions in their blogs as well, as in the comment columns of other blogs. These bloggers have not written any sensational or luscious stories to attract traffic to their blogs, but they have put down in prose as well, as verse, whatever they have felt strongly about, may it be about their personal lives or about a burning issue of the society. The sole purpose of their writing has been to make a difference. I wish that their ideas may fructify and bring a change in the society for better. I salute them all. Indyeah, please pick up your award from my blog.

  15. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 23, 2009 11:52 pm

    tagged you!!!

  16. Nita permalink
    January 24, 2009 3:08 am

    It’s really nice to know someone who also saw this movie as a love story at the core! It was the love between Jamal and Latita which moved me the most in the story and the obsessive way he goes about trying to find her. Its as if amidst the poverty and the darkness, love always survives. That was the message I got from the movie! Also as you mentioned, the relationship between the brothers was interesting and complex.
    Thanks for mentioning my review.

  17. the twenty second line permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:01 am

    indyeah — didn’t mira nair get her first award showing salaam bombay.

    the city of joy is another one.

    and i am sure there are other ones ( i am not an avid film buff cannot name others)

    mira nayar having stayed in the west understands the pulse of the western audience and knows the elements to make a movie that will fetch an award (and make money for the producer). very goal oriented in that way – just like how in india there is a system to get good marks in exams..

    of course india has tons of elements to make different movies. the ideas are many, but needs conceptualization —

    i would like sombody to make a movie on the concept of zero since it is one of the outstanding gift that an indian has given to the world…

    i hope somebody reads this and makes a movie..i would be thrilled..

  18. Ajit permalink
    January 24, 2009 6:20 am

    i said that, that was a good review…..
    and for the records:
    i also have say that i saw the actress here in los angeles… freida pinto……
    when I landed here and was waiting for emigration, she was also in the line behind me… and she was here for the awards…. 😛
    (so I liked the film all the more)….

  19. Indyeah permalink
    January 24, 2009 8:14 am

    Nita:-Yes,it also appealed to the romantic in me..:)…amazing movie….and you are most welcome…:)The pleasure’s mine…Your review was very in-depth…:)

    Anrosh:-Brilliant ideas…:)and on the concept of Zero…what an idea!!!seriously!!
    Yes,mira nair is smart that way…She hits the jackpot in more ways than one with almost every movie of hers…

    Its just that Indians love to bristle at evry such suggestion which talks about poverty…even though we may pass those very same slums everyday….

    Ajit:-I got it…what I meant was are you seriously saying that?:D:D

    Seeing Freida I am sure gave you added motivation….:D

  20. February 3, 2010 10:58 am

    excellent, loved it.

  21. September 25, 2010 10:08 pm

    Yay this is one movie I loved too. I think I had written about it somewhere on my blog (too lazy even to search for my own link you see :mrgreen: ) Pahh when I told people here that I loved every single shot in the film, they said am a mad NRI 😯 Will redirect all of those loonies to read your other long posts :mrgreen:

    Ps: My reader is showing like 30 plus posts from you. I beg for some time to go through them and put my thoughtful vies 🙄

    Meanwhile along with Crafty, let me hug you tight. 🙂
    me- :)30 plus posts coz lost in my own world I updated all the categories on most of them despite knowing that they are going to pop up on all the readers(slipped my mind) *sigh*

    (((((((((warm, warm hugs)))))))))))))back

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