It’s the most appreciated movie in the last few months (2008), winning several awards at various film festivals all over the globe. So I was excited enough to the see it, expecting another movie which will be added in my “Movies to See Before You Die” list.  No doubt it is one of the best movies of recent times but sadly I didn’t find it worth adding my “Must See Movies” List and I will surely give you my reasons for that here in the end.

Firstly talking about the movie, an interesting observation is that if the viewer is not told about who directed this flick, then, he is bound to take it as a movie made by an Indian or a person with an Indian origin. But surprisingly it is directed by “Danny Boyle” of ‘Trainspotting’ and ’28 Days Later’ fame. Though he has done a brilliant job but in my opinion he selected this subject and directed this movie keeping in mind the festival circuit and attention he would get because of the Indian touch and feel of the movie. You might get my point more clearly after watching it and reading my points at the end of this review.

The story of this movie is about a young teenage boy winning millions at a TV Show (KBC of Indian Television) and how each question asked by the anchor has a relation to his past life. He knows most of the answers as all the questions have something similar to the circumstances of his real life. So the anchor at one point of time doubts that he may be cheating in the show. In order to investigate his loyalty, he is handed over to the police for one night, but nothing is found against him and he is allowed to play the game, the next final day.

Each question put to him in the game show has a sequence attached to it in the screenplay which is well written and enjoyable. The growth of the children from a small age to their teenage youth is well executed. But the thrill which should have been there regarding the game is missing. May be it’s because from the title itself you already know that the contestant is going to win. Moreover, the narration of the movie is more towards an artistic offbeat film (like that of “Salaam Bombay”), which reduces its chances of becoming a big hit in the Indian circuit (But may do well in multiplexes).

Performances wise everybody does a fine job especially Dev Patel and all the children featuring in the movie. Their expressions and dialogue delivery has been directed perfectly and they never seem to be acting. Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Saurabh Shukla & Mahesh Manjrekar are just fine doing their parts with nothing extra-ordinary to talk about. But they are lucky enough to get this project which has become world famous by now. One thing i couldnt understand was that why Anil Kapoor did not want the slum boy to win in his show and why he tried to give him the wrong answer. Camerwork showing the slums and riots is brilliant. Infact the opening scene is the most well shot sequence with all the kids running followed by the policemen.

Musically, there are no full length songs in the movie and the soundtrack alone is more enjoyable separately. The best song is “Jai Ho” which was shockingly refused by Subhash Ghai for his movie “Yuvraaj”. The background music is superb giving an ample support to the direction. A. R. Rahman gives another good score in this International project and has already won praises and awards, making his presence felt in the International Film & Music Circles. We are really proud to have him as a National Treasure.

Now coming to the points why this movie could not impress me as expected and why it is not being added to my “Movies to See Before You Die” List.

1.  A few decades back (in sixties to eighties), there was an “Art Movies” wave going on in our Indian Movie world when film-makers were making movies based on Indian Culture, mainly portraying the poverty and backward side of India. They were showing the poor and exploited farmers, their extreme conditions, beggars, starving children, famines and droughts and depicting India as a suffering country. To some extent it was true then, and due to this realistic cinema and so called artistic creations, most of those film-makers got recognition all over the world.

Without pointing names, I would also like to add that these were the movies which were more or less responsible of giving India, its “Poor Country of Beggars, Farmers & Snake Charmers” image to the world.

A similar kind of attempt was made by Mira Nair in “Salaam Bombay” in 1988, showing the red light area, poverty and slums of Bombay in her movie and getting international recognition thereafter.

Here in “Slumdog Millionaire”, I see the same intentions again by the director Danny Boyle, showing the dirty slums, poor living conditions, begging mafia, tortured children, poverty, riots and racial tension in the current Mumbai, giving it again a picture of a backward city with only the illegal slums spread all over. I doubt this was done intentionally to grab international attention, because if you see the movie, you will feel that the same impact could have been given without showing the Mumbai City in a bad form.

2. In support of my above point, another plot added with purpose in the movie is “The Taj-Mahal Sequence”. This again seems to be deliberately added in the screenplay to show the famous “Wonder of The World” in the movie and have more festival feel to the project. In fact as you will see the movie, you would feel that the “Taj-Sequence” has no contribution to make in the script and could have been easily avoided. But since the director wanted to show “The Real India” so “The Taj” has to be there in the movie, otherwise it would have been incomplete.

3. Other strong objection or disagreement I have is with the title of the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire”, calling all the people living in the Slums as Dogs. This kind of expression is not an artistic liberty in my opinion.  The hero of the movie is from the slums, working as a “Chai-Wala” in a call center, but can speak good English. Interestingly, the director chooses to call his hero, “A Dog from the Slums who becomes Millionaire” aka “Slumdog Millionaire”. The moment I got the real meaning of the title after watching the movie, it was a let-down for me. I am sure this title would not have been used if the movie was about the poor Black people living in the slums in the West. But for the Indians you can call them “Dogs”.  Not acceptable…..

Infact, in the opening scene of the Game Show, when the teenage boy introduces himself as a “Chai-Wala”, then the host of the show, Anil Kapoor, makes fun of him and his work. This was simply not a good piece of writing and direction as no Host in reality could have done it in his show with his contestant.

4. Regarding the riots scenes in the movie, I am not in favour of using any minor actors/children in a scene showing racial tension and racial killings. I hope the directors know their social responsibilities while shooting such sequences with children and young teenagers. Since a well directed scene of riots can leave any good or bad kind of effect on the psyche of the child, so I think this is rather important point to think for all the people related to film-making.

5. I also found some weird scenes in the movie, which are disgusting as hell. Director Danny Boyle surely has some liking with the toilet, flushes and waste material. I remember a scene in his “Trainspotting” where a character puts his face in the commode full of waste and then his whole body flows into it. A similar kind of scene is here when the child is in an open toilet just covered from the sides and open from below. Suddenly he hears that Amitabh Bachhan’s helicopter has landed there for a shoot. Now his door is locked from outside and he cannot move out of the toilet to meet his favourite star. In order to grab this golden opportunity the child decides to jump from the hole below into the waste material. He then moves out of the dirty pool (as if a swim-suit girl is coming out of the pool), covered with waste all over his body and goes on to take the autograph of his hero.

Now what is the use or significance of this scene in the movie, it was completely out of my understanding. Giving artistic touches to a movie is a different thing but you don’t have to be disgusting for that. In “Trainspotting”, the justification can be that the scene and characters were related to drug addiction and its impact, but here I was unable to see any justification of this scene in the movie.

6. There are many other flaws also in the widely appreciated script. Like I don’t know where in India we teach the Classic “The 3 Musketeers” to 4-6 years slum kids and what is the explanation for the excellent English accent of the lead character Jamaal.

So in a nutshell, no doubt it’s a well directed and tightly scripted movie appreciated world-wide by all and it may be one of the better movies of 2008 but I couldn’t appreciate the treatment given to Mumbai city and the kind of INDIA shown in the movie, only to grab an international attention. It’s time now for the World to form a much better image of INDIA and other Asian countries fast moving towards development.

For me its not a masterpiece as it is being projected and with respect to all the awards it has won, I cannot add “Slumdog Millionaire” to my “Movie To See Before You Die” List.

Rating : 3 / 5

(Since I have gone into great details for this review, I would really appreciate your valuable comments on the same. And I would like to discuss this topic further with all my readers. So eagerly waiting for your words).

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Anorak says:

    Quite an interesting and detailed review! I whole-heartedly agree with your point number 2 regarding the Taj Mahal sequence. And, to a certain degree, I also understand your upset with the construct ‘Slumdog’. Although I think the choice of this particular term was to indicate ‘sub-human’ existence and not to call all those slum-dwellers, dogs! Do come by to read my take on it at: http://anorak75.wordpress.com/

  2. vku says:

    You know there is not much Indians themselves can do about this appalling portrayal because there are “respected” Indians involved in the film like Anil Kapoor and AR Rahman – the same people who have acted in 1942 A Love Story and composed “Vande Mataram” respectively.

    I wonder how these guys even agreed to contribute anything towards this film.

    Not only that there are many Indians who go to watch their own mother put to shame for commercial success.

    Alright we are a country with handicaps but you dont disdain your child or mother because he or she is handicapped !

    And whats the whole “Real America Real India” deal – really its a pity these guys still cant accept we are growing inspite of all this – they cant take the fact that a country of “slumdogs” can launch a rocket to the moon. Everybody has growing pains- even these guys had and still have racism in their country. The sun does’nt lose its brilliance if a dog barks at it.

    Full points to your review!

  3. bobbysing says:

    Thanks for supporting my viewpoint.
    Infact I am surprised to see that “Are we feeling proud of the poverty and slums shown in the movie winning the International Awards”

  4. vku says:

    Indeed ! Does it take poverty and slums for us to get recognition inspite of all the contributions we have made to cinema and other fields ?

  5. Msk says:

    Do you just want the world to have a superficial image of India ? Do you want the people in the slums ( who btw make nearly half the population in cities ) to be just forgotten ? Movies like this should be wake up calls for Indians to open their eyes and work towards real betterment of the nation.

    I agree that the name ‘Slumdog’ is incorrect. It shouldn’t have been generalized.

    @vku,
    USA has elected a black president. Enough said.

  6. bobbysing says:

    I think there is no superficial image needed to be imposed.
    India and its citizens have proved their worth in almost every field to the world.

    My only point is that do we still need to rely on only the subject of poverty to get the awards….or in other words does the west still only wants movies based on poverty and slums to be sent from our country for contesting.

    May be they are not interested in recoganizing the other original masterpieces being made here and want to still treat us as a poor and underdeveloped country…

    Let someone show them some of our recent gems like Swades, Taare Zameen Par and Jodha Akbar.

    BTW thanks for dropping by and having a healthy discussion.

    Cheers!

  7. vku says:

    @Msk

    The world already has a superficial image of India- that of only the poverty and the slums that too not an entirely correct image. And as to Obama(who has a Caucasian mother by the way, unlike real Afro Americans) being elected – I would only say that Hillary got unfairly voted out. She was person for the job – everyone in America knows that – why do you think Obama now has her as Secretary of State- because he knows that too !!. America can elect an Afro American man but not a woman as President, whereas India had a woman Prime minister long back. The current President is a woman and so is the leader of the ruling party (who is a woman and a foreigner who has graciously adopted Indian ways )

    But that is not the point here(though it goes to prove what is good about us yet unseen )

    The point is that every time the West makes an attempt to portray us , it does so by pandering to crystallised attitudes and perceptions of the Western audience about us as nothing but a poverty stricken country with slums and barbaric people. It will point out how we fight amongst ourselves but never point out that inspite of everything we still are the worlds largest democracy and a billion plus people are striding forward (even upto the moon). It has been but a little more than fifty years since our Independence – we have our problems but we have our surpluses. And which country doesnt? As for not showing our country’s so called “real nature” in movies, what about Salaam Bombay, Swades and so many other sensible films that are not accepted / nominated for Oscars/other awards – Lagaan has been the only film so far that got nominated but didnt win.

    If our poverty is real so is our progress. This is what the Western world is not grown up enough to validate – and sadly Indians themselves are party to such mockery of “the Indian spirit” like yourself.

  8. Msk says:

    I agree with you on the point that we should not be relying on poverty to get the awards. Movies like Taare Zameen Par are masterpieces and should be widely acclaimed.

    Yes we have proved our worth in every field. But how does sending a space shuttle to the moon help the people in the slums. How does research in particle physics in the IITs help the people below the poverty line ? Movies like slumdog millionaire show us the reality.

  9. bobbysing says:

    There was another reality shown in “Swades” when a person has the guts to leave the REPUTED Job of NASA and comes back to his country.

    No body can dare to think of that step in the monEtary based Western societies.

    AND it was rightly said “IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA”

    The Point is that the Western Film-makers are more interested in cooking their food on the fire based on our slums and poverty. (Hindi Meaning : Kuchh Log Isi Topic Per Hi Apni Rotiyan Sekne Mein Believe Karte Hain”)

    And I dont think any body can be proud of the scene where the children rob the americans and their car and it is said that “This is real India”.

    Was reallly sorry to see that being appreciated by us Indians only….

  10. Sid Lee says:

    I just saw Slumdog Millionaire,and i must say that the movie is, as you said excellently directed, shot & scripted.Before i say anything further lets have look at the movies that
    have received Academy Award considerations.I put forward this info because, as we all know
    “U.S me hit, matlab duniya me hit”

    Pather Panchali(1955) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048473/
    (Award For Satyajit Ray in his later years) – A movie set in RURAL India

    Mother India(1957) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050188/
    (Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) – A movie set in RURAL India showing HARSH LIFE

    Salaam Bombay!(1988) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096028/
    (Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) – A movie set in the SLUMS showing HARSH LIFE

    Lagaan(2001) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0169102/
    (Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) – A movie set in RURAL India

    Water(2005) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240200/
    (Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) – A movie set in a Temple showing HARSH LIFE

    Born into Brothels(2004) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388789/
    (Academy Award for Best Documentary) – A movie set in red light areas showing HARSH LIFE

    Little Terrorist(2004) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425200/
    (Academy Award for Live Action Short Film) – A movie set in RURAL india

    As you read the above list, You’ll find these words common Rural,Slums,Harsh Life. In short, here is a basic storyline for all those Indian filmmakers who clamor for academy awards..
    Make a movie set in (slums/villages) about (children/women) and the atrocities committed upon them…and in no time you’ll be standing there in the Kodak Theater(i think) with good ol’ Oscar in your hand thanking your mother and with the world at your feet, commending you(LOL)
    Don’t be too surprised if Slumdog Millionaire is nominated (at least) for the academy award for best foreign language film as it is basically an expansion of the one-line script that i have noted above.
    But here’s the catch..its a DAMN GOOD expansion, albeit a flawed one.
    What makes S.M diffrent is that it highlights the HUMAN RIGHTS NIGHTMARE that goes by the name of India AND puts and entertaining/thrilling spin to it.Jamaal Malik has been through through so much shit(pun intended ;-)) in his life, that regardless of what you think of the portrayal of India..GOD DAMN IT you want him to win those 20 Million (or is it 2 Million?) Rupees.The acting is quite good(thogh i don’t know why everyone’s fawning over anil kapoors performance).
    The script is so damn good, that sometimes it almost makes you forget the flaws of the movie….almost…and here is where things start falling apart.Here is where the movie comes to a screeching halt and stops from being a universal favorite, to only being a western favorite.
    Its understandable that maybe the novel wanted to portray the problems faced by women & children in india.But the thing that Danny Boyle should understand is that if you are setting a FEEL-GOOD LOVE STORY in a city, show a balanced view, not just the under-belly(like lets say was shown in Bluffmaster or Taxi Number 9211 which showed the classes and the masses).But as strange as this may seem, this is only a small flaw. I can Understand that Danny Boyle set out to make a realistic film and that Vikas Swarup’s novel “Q & A” was in English, but then by showing slum children, slumlords, gang lords & prostitutes talking in convent level english, the movie’s credibility just takes a MASSIVE, MASSIVE beating!!! Still it would have been OK if the whole movie would have been in English, but then as pre-teen children they speak bambaiyya hindi, then suddenly on their travels through India they start speaking english! Did they study at a convent while they were running around through India? plus all the anti-social elements seem as comfortable spewing lines in English as they would be with piles!!!
    To sign-off, what would be my recommendation? if you’re not too sensitive to the portrayal of the very-real underbelly of india, catch it. If people have a problem, like me with the language thing, best to catch the dubbed version SLUMDOG CROREPATI

  11. bobbysing says:

    @ Sid Lee
    Loved to see your detailed expressions and views on the movie.
    Yes, you are very right at mentioning the movie list which have been there at the International Award Platform.
    Infact this was exactly the point in my mind for my new writeup here and you really have provided me the required material for it.
    Thanks for the help and do keep writing as that will make our discussion here more interesting and entertaining.

    Cheers!

  12. Sid Lee says:

    Glad to be of service, let me just also say that i have added this page in my favorites list and will be looking forward to reading and commenting on your reviews. ALso i forgot to add one important point in the above post. If it ever comes down to asking which was the best movie made in india or about india in recent times, i would only recommend one movie Taare Zameen Par, the most sensitive movie to have come from india in the last decade

  13. Ash says:

    I was of EXACTLY the same opinion and taht’s y i googled for a review of the movie and came to this page.
    The movie definitely did not impress me …..

  14. jagadish says:

    Hi bobby,

    I have seen the movie and liked it.i have been reading different viewpoints
    from our friends here and it’s a really nice healthy discussion and i also wanted
    to say something. First of all movie is well directed and i had no complaints
    with the poverty shown in the film and eveything shown in the movie is almost a
    reality. I don’t understand one thing why we need their(us) approval for our
    cinema to be recognised and it seems we r trying to make an impression everytime

    There is a lot of discussion going on and even Mr.bacchan also raised some points
    abt the way poverty is shown in this movie and the fact is majority of the population
    in india are like that.I gree with u(bobby) abt one thing that the west has an
    impression abt india as a poverty stricken and even though we made some advances
    in different fields it has not changed,because the kind of advances we r making
    has no impact on the people of slums it’s like rich getting richer vice versa.

    Last year we saw a list of richest people in the world and in the top ten there are
    5 indians and it clearly shows the rich getting richer.Everytime somebody makes a
    movie on poverty in india it should remind us that it exists and we need to work
    towards it.How many good movies we make in a year we can count on ur fingers and
    abt the rest, so we should make more and more good movies and finally our cinema
    will be recognised not by (US) by the whole world.

    chinese movies are very well recognised compare to our’s in the world i don’t know
    how ?

  15. bobbysing says:

    Thats right, and i was really surprised to hear that it was out of the race in the Oscars this year.
    May be the jury wanted to see Darsheel (the child) in Rags living in the slums and Aamir picking him out of there.

  16. bobbysing says:

    Thanks Ash for the support and welcome to my Blog.
    Keep logging and writing your valuable comments.

  17. bobbysing says:

    Hi Jagadish,
    You are right in saying that we in India still have to fight with poverty and slums.
    But no country exists without them. The problem is that why only Poverty and Slums are needed to represent our cinema to the world.

    Another problem is that we have wide contrast in our movies. Sometimes we make huge masterpieces like Swades, Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par and sometimes a major production and assoiation comes up with a childish product like the recent CC2C. So may be the west is confused about the films we make here.

  18. HL says:

    Maybe you’re not taking into account some ideas from Western thinking…such as the fact that the ‘Slumdog’ shows great tenacity and perseverance to accomplish his life’s goal. He wants to be with Latika, and that is the driving force in his life. He is very much comparable to the age-old Picaresque characters from Spanish literary history. The Slumdog gets through life the best he can. He is opportunistic, yet compassionate. He does not use his circumstances as reason to do bad things (as his brother does). The movie is also a touching love story. In a short amount of time it has great character development, plot, and marries West/East story-telling.

    I think anyone who says this movie only serves to portray India in a pejorative manner is really being too sensitive. Good movies are the ones that make us think. Is India (or any country, including the USA) without its flaws? Poverty? Hunger? Beggars? No. This movie portrays a modern India with some age-old problems. It could have been set in Mexico City; Lima, Peru…or any other underprivilege yet very modern cities.

  19. bobbysing says:

    Hi HL,
    You are right if we see it through one angle, but you cannot ignore the deliberate plots being incorportated in the movie to gain international acclaim.
    And in strong words i want to say,
    If this movie was made by an Indian, it could have never got such response and would have been almost impossible to enter the OSCAR race.
    And thats true as the Sky is blue.

    If Taare Zameen Par can get out of the race of OSCAR and even cannot make it to the final entries, then i have started losing my faith in The OSCAR community.

    As i have said earlier also, may be the OSCAR people wanted The child artist in TZP should have been from the slums and Aamir should have picked him from there.

  20. PromisedProgress says:

    I am surprised at the shallowness of some of these comments. Just on a side note: Saying that Obama is not a “real” “Afro American” is just racist and petty. We happened to have a free and fair election. Because we elected a man rather than a woman means nothing except a reflection of our will. If this seems like a problem, I’m sure there are some women dictators that would be willing to step in anywhere. Fortunately, most people didn’t feel bound by the need to elect a woman when they clearly wanted Barack Obama. Grow up (in the best way possible.) Anyways…

    I will just go through all your points as they have affected me:

    1) Much of this movie takes place in the slums, to someone who is from the slums, and his life in the slums. It was not a movie about a nice suburb in India. It was about a dreadful place in India. If you wanted a different kind of movie, that is fine but, it wasn’t this movie. To say that this movie could have given the same story without the slums is an incredible claim. A movie about a young man from a wealthy suburb would have been a completely different movie.

    2) In the “Taj-Mahal” scene, we see that the two brothers are living off of the wealth of others near a shiny example of the wealth of India. Sure, it could have happened at the grocery store. Again, that would have been a different movie and a different point. Why the need to impose your ideas on this one?

    3) The term “Slum Dog” is used to illustrate his station. Not just where he came from, the slums, but to illustrate how he is viewed by those around him. “A Man From The Slums Millionaire” would have missed the intent of using a degrading term. The point was to degrade, not to find a clever name for a movie. Really, not to be a jerk, but criticizing the title without even mentioning that facet of it is a bit shallow (artistically.)

    4) Filmed riot scenes can traumatize children? Curiously, you mention this like a clinical statistic. Should we not film movies that contain murder with children in them? Should we not film movies with cursing, sex, awkwardness, violence, abuse, etc? With all do respect, this seems to be a motivated, arbitrary attack on the film. Yet, it is quite broad with little evidence, or relevance to the plot and story.

    5) It was disgusting. The point was to be disgusting. It was also to illustrate the fact that Jamal would do anything he set his mind on. This theme is shown throughout the movie. So, this scene is hardly for “shock” value, or some other kind of arbitrary gimmick.

    6) So that rules out the possibility of Jamal and his brother being taught English from this book? Again, no offense, this was an ineffective criticism. As for the language, I would agree that a heavy Hindi accent would have been more realistic. Even more realistic would have been far more Hindi dialog. Fortunately for me (and the world audience,) the lead character was understandable as I listened.

    Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinions about anything, just as all this is mine about your critique. However, it seems that you are being hypercritical of this movie for many non-artistic reasons. There are many things to be critical about in regards to this movie. However, being overly sensitive, and judging it against a completely different movie is endless.

    Cheers,
    PromisedProgress
    ^ at gmail.com

  21. bobbysing says:

    Promised Progress,
    As your name suggests, you are a positive person and i respect your opinion about the movie.
    But i only can respect and not agree.

    Now the current news about the movie is that even after the movie release here in India , the verdict is clear cut divided between the people who like it and people who have not.

    The film has not opened to Full houses everywhere as predicted. Its the movie of the multiplexes only and can earn some money there.

    So the people on whom and about whom the movie is have given there final verdict on the movie.
    And that is what i was saying in my review….

    Cheers!
    Thanks for visiting and do log on back with your views on more articles.

  22. PromisedProgress says:

    I’m not sure I understand your last comment. Are you saying that some people didn’t like that movie? Who has given their final verdict? I’m not sure what these things have to do with the conversation.

    Cheers,
    PromisedProgress
    ^ at gmail.com

  23. bobbysing says:

    I wanted to inform that there has been a wide divided response from the Indian Viewers here in India as the movie released on 23rd Jan.

    One section is not appreciating the movie and another section is prasing it to heights.
    That is only the case here too at my review.

    Some friends agree to my viewpoint towards the movie and some friends are against it.
    I hope now its clear what i wanted to convey…..

  24. PromisedProgress says:

    Yes. Much clearer. Thank you. I am curious if the main complaint in India is the portrayal and focus on the slums. Is this the case?

  25. bobbysing says:

    ya, that is one reason.
    The second reason is that a section here is not happy with Anil Kapoor making fun of a Chiawala and trying to sabotage the wining streak of Jamal intentionally.
    They were not really expecting this from Anil Kapoor, who has a big fan following here.

  26. HL says:

    Hi Bobbysing,
    Yes, I do see it from one angle: my perspective. I am not Indian, nor do I come from India. But then, maybe you are only seeing it from your own personal perspective, which keeps you from viewing the movie as a whole. It’s more personal to you, and easier for you to take offense.

    I will agree with you on something you talk about, your losing faith in the Oscar community. This is a *great* year for movies. Not just in the US, but it seems all over the world. Yet, the Oscars puts all movies outside the US into the Best Foreign Film category. Which is what? Four to six movies at most? US audiences, especially those in the midwest, where I’m from, are just not exposed to as many foreign-made films. The only ones that show are the ones nominated for Oscars, and sometimes for the Golden Globes. I would like for foreign films to be more available here.

    Now, I am not familiar with Anil Kapoor as a person. I only know his as he is in the role of Prem Kumar in this movie. It seems to me that you are judging him as a real person, rather than critiquing his character in the movie. Anil Kapoor did not sabotage the Chaiwala. His character Prem Kumar tried to. It seemed perfectly in-line with the movie plot that the character of Prem Kumar would try to sabotage the kid. If you follow along in what he says throughout the movie, you see he is a flawed character. He even says something to the affect of “the only other person to do what you are doing was me,” and also, “You’ll be as rich as I am.” He obviously enjoys his status as famous game show host, and feels the Chaiwala is stealing his spotlight, and wants none of it. It’s the age old story line of someone, especially someless with less dignity, who has ‘made it’ not wanting someone else to have more than he does. In US movies it’s a recurring theme: The Man and The System trying to keep a good guy down. We love when the underdog wins. We absolutely love it.

    That whole story arc also serves to emphasize Jamal’s learned reasoning skills, and how he has learned not to trust from his past. I really was impressed with the screenplay and how it brings everything together.

  27. It’s the same reason that East Asians hated films like Rambo, Joy Luck and the Karate Kid while the white audience loved them. This is nothing new to Hollywood.

  28. bobbysing says:

    Hi,
    Welcome to my site and thanks for having a healthy discussion here.
    @HL
    In India, Cinema and Cricket is a religion and here people do take actors and their roles very seriously and related to their real lives.
    That is why Anil who has a very clean and good image here, got this response.
    I would like to add here that Anil is one of those few actors in Bollywood who has never endoresed any products ever and so he has earned an image of his own in the last few decades in the industry.

  29. HL says:

    Hi Bobbysing,
    Thanks for having this interesting discussion. I have a limited knowledge of Bollywood, other than what has made it to the Western mainstream theaters. For instance, I really liked the movie Monsoon Wedding. I’m not even sure if it falls under the category of Bollywood. Does Bollywood include all of Indian cinema? Or just those that have singing and dancing, etc.?

    I also didn’t realize how an Indian actor’s choice in roll that he takes can have an effect on how people perceive him. For the most part in the US, an actor is not equated with the roles they choose.

    I like that I can learn a lot here in this forum. Thanks for having the discussion.

  30. bobbysing says:

    Yes HL, here in India Fans are known to be getting too personal with their artists and what they do in their real life…..
    Thats because we people here take these things too emotionally.
    And as you asked,
    I would like to mention that Bollywood is not only Songs & Dances ( as famous in the West), and there are much better movies to be seen other than the most famous ones.
    If you want just let me know which genre of movie you want to see and i will let you know about the best ones in that which you must see.

  31. Arvind says:

    @ MSK

    It is not the poverty but the way in which it was portrayed that is the problem. Poverty is indeed a problem. But the way in which Danny Boyle deals with it is disrespectful. Firstly, except for the main character, every Indian in the film are portrayed as barbaric brutes. There is no depth, complexity or empathy to any of them. There have been some great Indian films which deal with poverty in a respectful way: Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy Shyam Benegal’s Nishant and Manthan, Govind Nihalani’s Aakrosh to name a few. These films showcase Indian poverty and suffering but in a more complex way that portrays the beauty, richness and diversity of Indian culture, and the characters have more depth and emotional complexity. And don’t use United States as an example of freedom. United States is the most evil empire in the world. Together with Britain, they have single handedly destroyed so many countries and millions upon millions of lives. The slums and poverty you see in India is common to every third world country. Do you Think its a coincidence that Western countries are rich while so many other countries are poor. American and British empire has raped other countries (including India) of its wealth and way of life. America committed genocide and wiped out the native populations of North America, while enslaving the entire black race. They consume 80% of the world’s resources, and are indirectly responsible for all the poverty around the world. btw, an American Ghetto is in some ways more dangerous than an Indian slum. Atleast in Indian slums, you don’t have to fear everyday that you might get your head blown off with a shotgun.

  32. HL says:

    @Arvind
    I just find it interesting that you didn’t specify Spain in your list of evil-doers. I mean, if you’re going to make such broad, sweeping accusations, you may as well include another major player. The Spaniards got to the Americas before the British could turn into Americans. Just a thought.

    Anyhow…

    @Bobbysing
    I would be very happy for you to recommend a list of movies that you consider “must see”. I’m more into drama and comedy. I like period pieces, and some action. So, if you can narrow a list to include mostly drama and comedy, I’d be more than grateful. Thanks in advance!

  33. bobbysing says:

    Hi,
    I think you havent gone through my blog in details.
    Infact i started the blog with a single theme of “MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE” and then later added the other topics.

    So there is a complete section of “Must See Movies” with the list sorted according the genre. Both Comedy and Drama movies are in that list.

    Just see in the right hand categories and you will find what you are looking for and there are some great movies to watch as a must.

    So Happy Viewing….

    Cheers!

  34. Arvind says:

    @ HL

    ofcourse, Spain too. but what is going on in the world today, all the bad things, is more linked to British/American colonialism and capitalism. The reason why I talked about it is the fact that these things aren’t history. The United States continues its colonial imperial practices, it is spreading its “way of life” to other countries. This “way of life” and westernization is indirectly responsible for poverty, slums and wars. United States in many ways is a cancer to the world that should be stopped and cut out. its not sweeping accusations. its the truth.

  35. bobbysing says:

    Hi friends,
    Lets dont be too serious and get back to discussing movies only…
    I think we all know the current scenerio and the only thing we can do is enjoy the time we have on this planet and that too not on the cost of hurting anyone else.
    Cheers!

  36. PromisedProgress says:

    @ Arvind

    Not every character in the movie was portrayed as a brute. Maybe you watched a different movie, but the point was that the main character dealt with criminals and thugs, not that every Indian is a criminal and a thug. HL is correct in pointing out that you make broad, generalized statements: The main character dealt with criminals, he is saying all Indians are criminals; things suck in the third world, it has to be the US’s fault. Come on, man. Don’t you think that might be a bit simplistic? For all the calls for complexity and depth, you don’t seem to show much in your argument. I live and dissent in America, so that’s not the problem. The problem is an undeveloped viewpoint that doesn’t further the conversation.

    By the way, you should understand the difference between the people of the United States, and the state power of the United States. We are free. Freer than most. To say that we are not an example of freedom because our government is cruel is like me saying that you are corrupt and backwards because of your leaders. Doesn’t really make sense. Again, the same goes for criticism of this movie. It takes a little bit of depth and complexity to understand that a movie will never be representative of a whole nation.

    @ Everyone Else

    I understand this point about Indians being fascinated and emotionally involved with certain actors. I’m fairly certain it is like that everywhere, especially in America. People really live to see what a famous actor will do in their personal lives. But, let me just posit that, in my opinion, that is less emotional involvement and more emotional immaturity. Buying a tabloid to read what kind of Dog Angelina Jolie will get for her kids is one thing, but getting upset that she plays a role that doesn’t fit a preconceived notion is another. Why would anyone in Bollywood dare to play new and creative roles if everyone will whine when it isn’t the same role we’ve seen a thousand time?

  37. bobbysing says:

    Promised Progress,
    “Why would anyone in Bollywood dare to play new and creative roles if everyone will whine when it isn’t the same role we’ve seen a thousand time?

    The answer to your question is just given in the recent release “Luck By Chance” by Karan Johar himself.

    In his scene in the movie he says to Hrithik,”When big actors like you leave a new role due to fear of acceptance, that only gives way to newcomers in the industry.
    Thats the way Amitabh Bachchan got his “Zanjeer” and Shahrukh got “Darr” & “Baazigar” & everyone knows what these two mean to Bollywood.”

  38. Tom McRae says:

    this is one of the most amazing movies ive ever watched it funny inspiring a definte work of art its truly and amazing love story

  39. Oyaba says:

    I am African and have lived much of my life on my beloved continent. I have seen poverty first hand. Personally, I think the portrayal of India in this movie was outrageous. I do not know much about India but the image I got from the movie was of one giant pit of squalor, misery and abuse with absolutely no redeeming factors.

    If I did not live in Africa I might easily have accepted this depiction of India as the totality. After all, it would be very easy to make the same film here. I know Africa to be complex and that people exist in a myriad of levels and situations. Povery is something we all have to deal with here because even if we don’t live in it we all live with it. Despite this, Africa is still a place of outstanding beauty, culturally and environmentally and any movie that wants to portray ‘realism’ cannot do so without capturing this beauty – even in the ‘slums’. I am sure the same is true in India and if I am right then Slumdog is deceptive because of its imbalance.

    The feeling I got from watching this movies was that is was an opportunity for the filmakers to hang someone else’s dirty laundry out in public for sensationalism and personal gain. Someone above said you can portray poverty without being disrespectful, I agree with her. The movie was utterly disrespectful and insensitive.

  40. bobbysing says:

    Welcome to my blog and Thanks for your comment..
    Keep posting….
    Cheers!

  41. bobbysing says:

    Hi Oyaba,
    Many of the friends including myself agree to this viewpoint of yours but many loved the movie only because of this poverty portrayal.
    And that is also the reason the movie didnt do too well in India itself about whom it is made.
    That was the final verdict i suppose……..from the viewers here.

    Thanks for your valuable input in the discussion here
    and Keep posting….
    Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s