I just finished watching ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and the one question it has left me with is how and why it made it to the Oscars?
I have read Vikas Swarup’s Q&A. I found it interesting and quite easy to read. When I came to know about this movie, I was pleasantly surprised because this book is a movie material. I also read wonderful reviews and several behind-the-scenes articles on casting, on how some of the kids were real slum-dwellers, and so on. I was suitably impressed with the movie even before I had seen it. It is definitely what everyone is talking about, a very commendable job done by their Marketing and PR.
I don’t know what did it – over-expectations or prior knowledge of the story – but it did not live up to my expectations. When I had seen ‘Namesake’, I was bowled over by Tabu and Irfan Khan. I believe, that was the movie which deserved an Oscar. But in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, I do not find any high points. It does not inspire thoughts, for people abroad; it might, but not here. We have seen it several times in reality as well as in movies.
Direction was pretty decent; but acting and music were quite ordinary. Dev Patel is impressive, but Frieda Pinto did not have to do much. I felt the little Latika and the teenage Latika were quite amazing. I also liked the kid Jamal. Irfan Khan was his usual good self and Anil Kapoor also did justice to his role. The teenage Salim was particularly good. But that’s about it.
When, particularly, A.R.Rahman wins an Oscar for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, I would certainly rejoice; not because he has done a good job (he has created zillion times better music for hindi movies) but because he is an Indian who has done us proud.
I wonder if I should cheer for the movie, because
(a) It is not a masterpiece in cinema
(b) It is not an Indian film – yes, an Indian story with Indian actors but not made by an Indian
(c) I did not like it that much
I read somewhere that two young kids, who played youngest Latika and youngest Salim, are real-life slum-residents. They have been given flats and have also got admissions in English medium schools. I would certainly like to cheer for them. In that way, the movie did make a difference. Well, the underdog did win at the end! So cheers to that.