Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slum Dog Millionaire

Saw this movie yesterday.
I went with a lot of expectation as people the world over are going gaga over the movie.
The premier at India had our Bollywood people also gushing about it. I usually get to see a movie at least 7-10 days after release. But this time goaded by all the hype, I went to see it the very next day.
After seeing it, I feel I should not have gone to see the movie.
One, I do not like such bleak, dark movies. When one comes out of a movie hall, one should come out smiling and not morose. What’s the use of seeing reality in movies too? Don’t we have enough of misery, cruelty, suffering, insensitivity, brazenness all round us?
And to what extent does one portray realism? I get a deeply yucky feeling seeing all that shit in the movie. Beauty of expression is when things are left unsaid (or here unseen). That limit crossed, it becomes gross!
Even leaving aside all the debate about why the darker side of India is shown etc., I felt that winning of the 2 crore was too contrived ...too coincidental that all the questions asked related to his life and therefore he was able to answer them.
Next, why does the supposedly English movie have so many Hindi dialogs? Looks funny when Anil Kapoor speaks Hindi and the slum dog, Jamal, speaks English.
On the positive side, the individual performances were brilliant...the usual flamboyant Anil Kapoor giving such brilliantly restrained action...Irfan, as usual great; the kids putting in a seamless performance...and even Dev Patel was good as a gawky teen, his chaiwala scenes were brilliantly written and enacted.
If the movie is nominated for so many Oscars, it’s perhaps due to the Western obsession with movies depicting poverty/ calamity.