Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slumdog bashing- my take

Blah Blah Blah... For the past 2 weeks all i am hearing is about slumdog millionaire. Good Bad Praise TV, news paper, internet and even from people..
Before starting, i watched the film and enjoyed it. Then again i do enjoy every other film. And i think that this film has too much antagonism in it but it also holds hope and love.
And every one who is singing the praises, have you even for a moment, thought of reading the bloody book? or even an excerpt of it (which i did, sadly, as the book is not available in my town and i don't trust amazon), which is enough to banish the basic idea of the movie to the most hateful corners in your mind.

Vikas Swarup's spectacular debut novel opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, India, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all twelve questions on India's biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.
Ram takes us on an amazing review of his own history -- from the day he was found as a baby in the clothes donation box of a Delhi church to his employment by a faded Bollywood star to his adventure with a security-crazed Australian army colonel to his career as an overly creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal.
Swarup's Q & A is a beguiling blend of high comedy, drama, and romance that reveals how we know what we know -- not just about trivia, but about life itself. Cutting across humanity in all its squalor and glory, Vikas Swarup presents a kaleidoscopic vision of the struggle between good and evil -- and what happens when one boy has no other choice in life but to survive.

I am not saying that my country is all beautiful, where nothing goes wrong, has no corruption etc.. Of course we have here hindu muslim riots, child labour, child prostitution, slums, rape, hero worship, gang wars, gangsters etc. But don't you thing it is too much of a coincidence that every awful thing out there is happening to this boy JAMAL? (In the Book his name was at least Ram Mohammad Thomas and he wouldn't have seen his mother being killed at 5 years of age, being an orphan.)
And SLUMDOG? What sort of word is slumdog? Ah! forget it!
How many times in a KBC episode you have seen Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan making fun of a contestant for coming from poor circumstances, and the audience laughing with them? I have never seen it. Don't you think its all a bit too dramatic? And then, we call our filmmakers Dramatic.
How do you think a child who saw his mother's murder, stole from train passengers daily, got beaten by TTR, abused by many many people, started lying and accompanied thievery in teenage to remain innocent in life? Not to covet money (2 crore at that too) and only to want the love of his life? Is he for real? Do they even expect people to swallow that?
How many times has the KBC been aired live? Forget this too. Its a MOO point when compared to the other ones which are as big as Antarctica.
Then again, during a live show, is it possible that the person the whole nation is watching is handed over to police on the grounds of suspected trickery when the show is to shoot the next day? Do they not expect him next day to look fine? Do they expect him not to talk about it once the show is over, if he wins or loses? 
All these and other loop holes can be understood. It is a work of fiction and its not God who wrote it. Its a good tale with good(not great) soundtrack and immaculate technical perfection. And its as masaledar as a cheap porn film featuring cherry red lip stick wearing aunties doing it with dangly men in deserted forest.(Have seen it, quite disgusting.)
Of course when you see it as yet another movie churned to spin coins, it is acceptable. Can be called good too.(the technical side should count for something.) But when we view it as the OSCAR winner (if Oscar is count as the recognition for the ultimate excellence in cinema, which i don't, not anymore!) or as the portrait of metro india, in the eyes of the world, Jeez, gimme a break! 
Is India the only country with slums? and child prostitution? and gang wars? and all the other things that happen to Jamal... No we are not. But i am not contradicting making such a film in India. We are 3rd world. These things happen here. And 50% of our people is under the poverty line(which is a very questionable line coz,in my school my BPL friends used to come in private cars after holidays while i  went in hired ambassadors). 
But what i have a problem with is telling that this is INDIA'S FILM and gleefully dancing over it as our country won the bloody Oscar!! It is a BRITISH film for Pete's sake! A film which didn't even released in India with the foreign release. We can't take credit and pounce around for a film which shot in India. Then there was an Indian part for the "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" too. 
We cant forget this film for getting an Oscars for our talented Mr. Rehman and Pookutty. And that is the only ehsaan they have on us. And we let them shoot a film here, not minding the consequences it will bring to the tourism industry and the defaming that will do us, and it got them an Oscar too. That is our EHSAAN on the british!!


Rudra ... said...

TDK Rocks :-)
Heath will me missed.

Die,slumdoggy die :-P

small_town girl said...

ha ha..
this comin from the guy who watched it 3 times..(or more?)

Operative Knick-Knacks said...

its just a movie. Its fiction and its far better than " Ram teri Ganga meli" or "dhik tana dhik tana.. dhik tana.. Rite ?

Aditya said...

Couldn't agree with you more on slumdog!


"Then there was an Indian part for the "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" too. "

Where was the Indian connection in Benjamin Button? :O

small_town girl said...

@operative knick-knacks
wat was the 2nd film? n every other film is not depicted as the soul of india.

@ adithya
there was a part of Button shot in india right? wen button comes to india. that doesnt make it an indian film. like that slum dog is a british film shot in india. not indian film that went to oscar!