Monday, January 26, 2009

Slumdog and the journey

Finally watched Slumdog Millionaire @ Lido Mall with a friend from work, Sh. Reams and reams have been written about it, but this is my 2 (exactly two) cents on it.

1c--Film does show the underbelly of Mumbai, in some scenes it gets really nauseating and disgusting too, but it is nothing out of the way. A lot of Indian movies also do this much. So we can spare the criticism on that issue.

2c--Its an average movie. Very very average I should say. Nothing poignant that would stick with you or leave a taste on your psyche. Average is the word. Definitely not extraordinary. So what is making it tick so much at the Globes and the Oscars?? I have to agree with the "it is a hit because it sells the image of a dirty and unfair India" part. That much is completely true. I have to believe that is the only reason its doing so well in the West in spite of being mediocre as a movie :)

I sincerely wish Rahman wins though. If this movie can be a stepping stone to awarding that recognition long due for his talent, so be it.

On the way to the movie, in an auto, I had to pay 42 to the guy. I paid him 102 and he asked me for 10 rs extra. Normally if its 60 and I give them 100, and they have a 50 note, they ask for a 10 so they can give back the 50. You get the drift. But this guy took the 112 and gave me back a 50, I said you owe me 60. So he made a surprised face as if he didn't realize and promptly handed me back the 10 that I gave him. And I told him, boss, don't be too smart, thats the note I gave you. And then he paid up of course, but I wonder, he did it with such an audacity, how many times did he try it before. And if I was in a less alert frame of mind (I can be really pre-occupied when I am thinking of something), I would have also fallen for it maybe??


Umang said...

Ok, a few comments on your post:

1) I think the movie is good - really good. A few people told me they thought the movie was pathetic (showed the poor side of India) or what's the big deal if a slum dweller becomes a millionaire and so on. My response to them is that:
a) ok fine it shows the slums of India. So, what? don't they exist??? Are we ashamed of the slums (if so why don't we take steps to modernize them) or are we ashamed of the slum dwellers (in that case shame on us and our education). So, what if the world knows about are slums.... it would be more shameful if we still do not wake up and act. Make their life better rather than complaining that slums exist in other countries too. I guess I could go on forever on this topic... pisses me off no end when people are being shallow and hypocritcal (not you of course... other people have taken offense to showing Indian slums).

b) The basic message of the movie.... its no big deal that the slum dweller won the contest or happened the know the answers... the big deal is how he knew the answers. He knew the answers from the tough lessons life dished out to him...we sit in our cozy homes, work in AC offices, wear expensive clothes and so on without realizing what goes on in the other half of our society. ... their daily (and real) struggle for survival, a girl childs right to life, happiness and security and so on. So, the movie is not about a game show but how people learn to live the hard way...things we cannot even imagine. The Rs42 you spent on an auto might be more than what a daily wage labourer might earn in a whole day to support a family of 4.... just to put things in perspective.

c) The auto guy... yep, that's pretty bad if he indeed was acting over smart (which he most likely was). I would have told him that most likely I would have tipped you 10-20 Rs but since you tried to be over smart, you get absolutely nothing. The problem here is basic character flaws we have in Indian society... be it an auto driver, office babu or satyam CEO... everyone is out to hoodwink the public for personal gains. Sick!!!

Sh said...

I find it hard to believe that a lot of people in India find the movie average/not entertaining enough or not liking it because the way India has been portrayed.
I on the other hand find the movie very refreshing.

Raja sen sums it better than I can do.Head on and read his review as to why the movie is slumdog millionaire and not just a slumdog.

Deepu said...

u writing abt the smartypants autowallah reminds me of a bizzaro incident with a cab wallah in mumbai...

vijay received his brother at the airport and took a prepaid taxi for 550 rs, came home, got down, carrying the luggage upstairs... while his friend went to check for any left luggage n to send off the taxi.. the taxi driver hands off a reciept for 550 rs which vijay forgot to take when he paid the amount. vijay's friend promptly takes the receipt from the taxi driver, gives 550 from his wallet and that brutal driver asks for tip.. so he pays him 650!!! he takes it and leaves.. all this in front of me... i was there waiting at home for them so i did not know vijay aready paid at the airport. the taxi walllah tks 650 rs n makes a run before vijay comes down. sucks how easily people are looted here.. wonder do they have conscience at all.. do they ever feel guilty..

ugh, i feel so angry

Anonymous said...

He should have given you 70 ??

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