Candid, not Candied

Saturday, 31 January 2009


I do, I did and other's will too. With the media wearing out their pens till the last drop of the ink to highlight every aspect of SM, it came as no surprise that the theatres ran full house in the week that it released. Big B's unfavorable comments for the movie (or so it is said) just won SM some brownie points and the indecisive lot will go for it. :D The cast being very much indian, the location 'amchi mumbai', the Golden Globe Award, the 10 Oscars and many other nominations just sent the whole nation into an orgasmic pleasure. But the reins of SM lies in the hands of Danny Boyle, not so much of an Indian, eh?

Well the movie wasn't bad... rather I would say that SM has every right to be a blockbuster. Technically speaking, movie rendered me speechless, be it the background score, the child actors, and the way the story is weaved without tangles. What fails to sink in me is "Is Mumbai the only city in this whole world where there's filth, beggars, slums, mafia, human/ drug trafficking, bomb blasts and communal riots?" Here, I am NOT disagreeing to the ugly side of Mumbai, but is this the only way can films be made? As it is other countries still have misconceptions about India and don't think twice before asking if we've heard of Mc Donalds!! One shouldn't forget that Slumdog has a world appeal... and Mumbai for them is Mumbai shown in movies made therein. I think this is the movie made by firang for the firangs.

Having said that, let me move on to what I saw and appreciated. Dev Patel, with his unconventional looks and off beat demeanour puts up a performance thats commendable. Freida Pinto hasn't got much of a screen space, but whatever she did, she did right. If the movie gets an Oscar, the major reason for it will be the child artistes, who have done excrutiatingly well. The raw truths of Mumbai have been laid bare by these spec of actors, which is unbearable to accept.

Character-wise, it is Jamal's (the protagonist) elder brother Salim who is a mixed bag of being fiercely protective, selfish, street-smart. What one would call a true grey character. Next comes Anil Kapoor, the quizmaster, who during the course of the movie will confuse you whether he's good or a baddie. Nonetheless, Anil Kapoor will keep you entertained even during the shockiest part of the movie. Finally there's Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla, as policemen. They are as much of an extras as much are they a part of the movie. All in all, there wasn't a loose thread, no place where you can say this isn't explained or wonder what this character is doing.

Movie-wise, I recommend it as one time watch.


  1. Have a few things ahem... as a constructive criticism for the movie :

    1. I think its way too negative... I mean does every question result in bad memories for Jamal? I know he has had a terror-filled childhood and the only glimpse of happiness is in Latika but I think, the movie uses too much negativity to bring out the sympathy for Jamal.

    2. How does he suddenly learn such good English? If he was an uneducated (studying till the v young age as depictyed will not give such fluency to him) guy born and brought up in the slums / company of goons / anti-social elements, such good grasp over English is possible only beacuse it is being made by a foreigh film maker.

    3. I think, ARR has given much better music in many movies but since they were all tam / hindi movies, they never qualified for Golden Globe / Oscars... Although I am glad he is getting international recognition, I don't think his music for Slumdog Millionaire is good enough to deserve Gloden Globes / Oscars.

  2. its kinda oookaaaay as a film.. Rahman rox..
    But this is an old concept for the firangs to show India in such a way when some firang said that India is one of the fastest moving countries..
    Rememeber, even when some international cricket matches are played in India, the camera men have a wonderful time showing the drainages, cows and donkeys instead of the proper crowd..

  3. Music's good .. Rahman rocks and has made us proud. The movie though does show us in a bad light .. There is a lot more to india .. unfortunately poverty sells

  4. Well liked the movie a lot in my case... The only major point was how he got that accent... Too polished... Possibly would have been a better watch in Hindi... Then there was the language... good way to learn how to swear proficiently in hindi... I definitely learnt more swear words here than on Roadies...

    I would rate the movie about 4. One point specifically for the background score... and one for little Jamal... the kid is absolutely adorable...

  5. So back to the business of writing movie reviews eh???? :)

    Well it was not so great a movie, as such. I would not like to get too much into the technical details of it. I feel its just another movie. Just because it won the Golden Globe or it was nominated to the Oscars, it has raised the expectations of people. Otherwise it would have been a fair movie to watch.

    I am sure that those who have read the book earlier, would agree with me that the book way far better and held more suspense in it.

    On a personal note, I am not sure how it made so far into the Oscars, especially considering glaring blunders like the girl playing Latika in adolescence is almost as tall as Jamal, whereas the one playing later is almost a foot shorter!!

  6. @ Dewdrop,
    See,the movie was about SLUMDOG, so I did expect this kind of negativity. I've seen enough movies based on Mumbai - they always show it in bad light.
    Your second point is a valid one.
    And seriously, ARR just happened to be the music director for SM and that's why they have hyped it. He deserved a world class recognition much before SM. SM made it big and thats why ARR was made big.

    @ Ajan,
    yea, I know. I saw this on Disc T&L, foreigners with their cameras posed to click a nude orphan kid begging on the street. They were living in dharamshalas in Mumbai even when they can afford staying in The Taj.... made a huge fuss abt how unclean the toilets were and how uncomfortable the beds, that were loaded with bed-bugs!!!

    @ Ananth,
    U bet! poverty sells and we are here applauding it.

    @ Tj,
    Same here. Small Jamal is an absolute darling! n U see Roadies?? Cool! Neva knew.

    @ Nitin,
    hehehee... can't help when the movie is worth writing about.. good or bad. I personally do not give much important to Oscars, nor any other Award functions. You mostly have a panel of judges with a defunct brain that'll decide what goes to whom. and whatever little interest I'd had in them was washed away when our great Indian panel chose "PAHELI" over Black for the Oscars. And anyways, I don't think it is India's movie, is it?

  7. i didn't much like the movie. i could suggest a few others which were oscar-nomination worthy.

    but honestly... if it weren't for the hype.. i'd have thought it was OKAY.

    music... well.. rahman deserves it. not for this one... but his past work! :D this is like him doling out his bacha-kucha music thinking "another firang film... who'll waste my precious time on it!?"

  8. @ Rayshma,
    hehe exactly... If SM was made by Mani Ratnam and music ARR then it would be a totally different tale.

  9. I personally loved the film. I don't know how valid the "Poor portrayal of India" argument really is. Because you're telling a rags to riches story, its expected to show the darker half of the streets.. what were people expecting. The slums of Venice with miniscule portions of caviar for each kid ?

    I think the movie deserves most of the awards that its getting. Though ya, its really turning into a revolution now, huh ?

  10. Hey Dr. Roshan,
    Welcome to my blog!
    See, I agree this is rags to riches story and I still maintain my stand that I liked the movie which has really shown in times when we have duds like RNBDJ. It is this repetition of 'bad side of Mumbai' that hasn't gone down well with me.

    And yes, it is a revolution now, as you rightly said. Everyone's placing their bets.


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