After all the hoopla of the Oscar has died down, after I forgot almost all the reviews I read about it, finally I watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire. If I were to describe the movie in one word, the word would be “Incredible”, literally mostly and figuratively in some small parts. I think the best part of the movie is the amazing work by Resul Pookutty. I felt I was in the middle of the busy Mumbai street, the slum and all those places in the movie. He brought all that into my living room. Rehman’s music is good but I don’t seem to remember any of it now, including the Jai Ho song. I think he has given much better music in other movies. Story build up and narration is in a good package but didn’t find much of build up. Overall an ok movie I guess. For a movie depicting hope and triumph, I felt the story could have been built up better.
I’m sure kids in India grow up hearing about the child abductions and how the kidnapped children are crippled and pushed into begging, at least I had heard of such stories while growing up. The question of “Darshan Do Bhagavan” and the story associated with how Jamal knows the answer seemed realistic. So did the way Jamal handles the question about “Satyameva Jayate.” I liked nonlinear narration around the “Colt” revolver question. We are shown Jamal’s brother killing Mamman with a revolver and no one really says colt at that point; Jamal answers the question. In the next seen we see Salim calling himself the man with the colt revolver. That was good.
If those were the good parts, I wonder how much of the screenplay was written from the point of view of the slumdog kid and how much of it was with Danny Boyle’s (or the western audience’s) view point. Amitabh’s Zanjeer must have been many years before Jamal was born. Danny Boyle needs to counter that and some how. So what does he do? Makes young Jamal jump through the shit hole and show us his love for Amitabh. Was that a touch(?) extreme? You bet. What was that blue baby Ram doing in that narrow gully by the way? For Danny Boyle or the western audience it may seem strange for a Muslim boy to know what Ram holds in his hands. Does Boyle think India’s Hindu culture is alien to Indian Muslims? In any case the two question give him good pretext to show case the shit holes of the slum and also the post Babri Masjid demolition events. Whatever helps connect the dots in history and this Muslim boy from slums in Bombay I guess.
After spending some years in Agra, Jamal and Salim return to Mumbai. Describing that Jamal says, when we came back Bombay had become Mumbai. Was the name change that big of an impact in the day to day life of even slum dwellers? Don’t get me wrong, I have read elsewhere that the city had always been “amchi mumbai” for the common man on the street. Is that not right? What was that about the real American way the American tourist talks about? Was that supposed to show how good Americans are or was it an attempt to show that Americans throw money every where? Ek teer do shikar, eh? In any case it was quite funny to see the way the Merc left by the American tourists gets dismantled systematically (I won’t be surprised if it really happens). Wonder why the Indian driver also went with them to see the dhobi ghat though.
Finally, do they really teach Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” in primary schools in India? I started learning English only from 5th standard so I don’t know :). That’s another incredible thing I guess. Any way, nothing wrong with that. I liked the way he takes a blind guess and hits the jackpot. So there was the show of luck playing its role too :).
It was good to see Rahman, Resul Pookutty and Gulzar being recognized with Oscar. I loved the Oscar acceptance speech of Resul Pookutty. I had this (in Kannada) to say after listening to the speech at that time.