Films | Movie Reviews | SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE – Hollywood FINALLY makes inroads into Bollywood

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE – Hollywood FINALLY makes inroads into Bollywood

Posted by Vivek on November 12, 2008 | No Comments

The first thing that strikes the “Bollywood centric” viewer, is that not since Monsoon Wedding, do we have a film, which is also an good and enjoyable Bollywood watch, for the people with that sensibility, along with being an interesting attempt by the West, to attempt a crossover into pure play Indian territory.

This it does achieve.

Despite having some glaring holes in the script, namely

  1. In case there was a leak of a quiz show question, would that not be an issue of the quiz show organizers, as opposed to the contestant who was the beneficiary?
  2. Mumbai is shown as a banana republic, with the cops all being buffoons and all being corrupt and all resorting to torture of the worst kind, for petty crimes.
  3. The fact that a street smart kid, has no idea who Mahatma Gandhi is, when in fact the same street has notes with the photo of the father of the nation and his statue, is quite hard to digest.
  4. For someone who is about to become or has become a national story, the media conveniently ignores his arrest and also the involvement of the game show host who got him arrested. Conveniently the same media is shown to be hounding him at all other instances
  5. A game show host with hardly any shades, almost like a 70’s Bollywood villain
  6. For a brother of the protagonist, whose main skill is “an instinct for survival,” a strange and almost convenient, submission to fate, at the end.

But despite that the story has an immense emotional connect, against the backdrop of the Western obsession with poverty, the Taj Mahal and crooks as India becomes an economic powerhouse and a nation which sends missions to the Moon.

The humor in reality is both gripping and touching and the acting of ensemble cast of Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal and Freida Pinto, match frame for frame with the more established cast of Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Shaurab Shukla and Mahesh Manjrekar.

The highlight is the editing and the novelty of the screenplay, where one can overlook the “obviously western” and blend it quite well with the “typically Bollywood.” The direction excels, although the production values do appear low budget. But as long as the movie keeps you engaged, which it does, the watch is enjoyable. Fine camerawork too and top notch music by A R Rehman.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Definitely a watch, perhaps not with kids.

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