Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who is a millionaire: Slumdog or Christian Colson/Danny Boyle?

I am confused not because why Jamaal Malik could speak fluent English and that too in British accent, also not how he got his name ( Jamaal is a Muslim and Malik is a Hindu surname) but I am confused about what has really appealed to people about this 2 hours movie. For sure movie goers don’t go to see filthy slums and all that comes along with it. Have people found the slums, the open drains and children playing on the mound of garbage so beautiful? Sure not. SDM portrays out of the box thinking and it is very creatively done. Two truths – first truth this story can be about any slum dweller minus the millionaire part. The second truth - this movie is a hit at the box office and has won 11 nominations for Oscars (that’s old truth now). As they say the proof of the pudding is in eating. Since Slumdog is doing very well it means it has made lot of business sense for Christian Colson to produce and Danny Boyle to direct this movie. Would this movie still be a hit if it wouldn’t have got a single nomination for Oscar? No idea. Anil Kapoor dominantly portrays himself in all the photographs splashed in media about Oscar nominations as if he is the main character, the fact is though he has screen presence throughout the entire length but he has a very insignificant role. It would have been the same thing even if anyone else were there in the hot seat.
Now Slumdog has shown us Dharavi - India’s biggest slum and introduced us to real slum children.
“How pathetic!”, “Nice movie but sad, how people live in these conditions!”, “Inhuman, we should not take kids for this movie, why show them these truths about India!”, “What foreigners must be thinking about India?” That’s how most of us would have reacted after watching this movie. Britisher Danny Boyle has made loads of money by showcasing India’s poverty, dingy slums, maimed beggars and the world is going ga ga over Litika, Saleem and Jamaal- India’s slum kids. The truth is this movie is half real but for the three slum kids who were picked up from Dharavi slum to play three main characters. Their natural acting made a BIG contribution to its success. The least the producer can do is take charge of their life, send them to best schools and support them economically till they become adults and open the doors of opportunity for them to become real life millionaires or else they will remain as slumdogs.
Caution: Don’t take your small children for the movie. Some scenes in the movie leave inerasable impressions on the mind. And yes, adults must watch for the pleasure of watching an Oscar nominated movie


pcsraghavan said...

1. I have not seen the movie as yet. I may do so, not very keen

2. First of all the title Slum'dog' millionaire is not right. Use of the word 'dog' is making me (an Indian) some what uncomfortable.

3. There is nothing new in talking about Dharavi or any of India's slums. India's poverty has come down enormously from 56% at the time of independence to about 24% recently. [mind you - many people talk of some 'good' administration during British rule!!]

4. Will the producer part with entire or major part of the money he made from this movie for the slum dwellers - if at all projecting the sate of these slums for thier upliftment was his intention! OR if he wanted to only make money out of this movie, nothing to talk about this movie, since it is obvious that Dharavi is one of the biggest slums in Asia, We do not need Christian Coloson to tell us that

5. One some one is down, there are always people to make merry! kisi ki mazboori ke faida utana! Opportunists!

6. Do the producers know that in fact, majority of these slum dwellers do dnot want to leave the slum, if they are rehabilitated and shifted else where?

deepika said...

I'm part of the audience that is reluctant to watch movies that depict horror,stark truths and confusing emotions.
No matter what accolades Slumdog Millionaire won for itself,I was not tempted to watch this movie-be it in a theatre or through a DVD at home.
However,I succumbed to my 14 year old daughter's ardent desire ,and we went to watch this movie last evening.(My 8 year old was enjoying a day at his friend's house.)
And I came back humbled.
Considering the various responses the movie evoked amongst people the world over,this was unexpected.
No,I was not indignant over the term"slumdog". Neither was I appalled that India was portrayed such.
I could only see stark reality.
And ,I could accept it as a director's perspective.
I was able to see the scenes as part of a script.
I could only feel the deep pain, confusion and helplessness of the protagonists(yes,Jamal is not the only hero to me).
As the movie says at the end, "it was written".
I see the triumph of spirit.
My daughter too came out "feeling" for the real people living on the other side.
Slumdog Millionaire has made us sensitive to the vast population who live their life as an "accident of birth"(people don't choose to be born a slum dweller)!!