Slumdog Millionaire

December 25th, 2008 | Categories: india | Tags: ,

his week, after about 6 months – we (me&madhu) went to a movie in the movie theater. We heard so much about Slumdog Millionaire, given that this is set in india and supposedly an uplifting love story. Time magazine, Roger Ebert, and every other movie review i read was very positive. I saw jay leno show who was gushing about how “beautiful” the slums and slum folks are/were.

When the movie started, i was shocked how “real” the movie was. All movies/showbiz dress up reality. It is hard to believe that a UPS delivery man lives in a 2 story independant home in chicago or the sometimes unemployed friends can afford a spacious luxurious multi-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Bollywood movies too dress up “slums” in india. Whether it is “Company” or “Satya” or “Kaho na Pyaar Hai” or any other indian movie, Poor folks in india seem to have decent, spacious apartments, clean, crisp clothes, nice hair & teeth, gorgeous bodies. Danny Boyle – for the purposes of this film – focused on the real real slums in india. So the movie’s initial segments focus on the slums, the dirtiest and trashiest parts of the slum specially. I have not seen another “real” view at the not-so-pretty parts of india since Salaam Bombay.
As the movie follows the early life of these two slum kids, the situations they face very harsh and shocking. All the scenes are shot with extra touch of cruelty and harshness. Even the brief moments of levity this movie provides are hard to laugh with. This is indeed the life (or very cloe to) of thousands of kids in India. It was very disturbing for us and what ever the uplifting part of the movie was, it seemed moot and trivial. I am not sure what has been bothering us more, the way this movie is shot, or the realization that this movie is not that far from the truth.
Everytime i remember that Jay leno called the slums and this movie “beautiful”, i just feel worse. What was beautiful about the challenges these kids are subject to ? I guess it is the way to justify the joy one feels (if one feels any joy) at the conclusion of the movie.
While danny chose to be “real” about depiction of the slums and the kids, he definitely chose to be bollywood about how the movie ends.

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