Monday, January 26, 2009

The Eastside Story

Mumbai, the city we all LOVE, has an ugly underbelly and it's about time we accepted it.

'Slumdog Millionnaire' is a beautiful movie & it takes a very special person to make a movie like this.

The initial few scenes in the movie may be a bit overwhelming - the intense poverty, the sight of a boy covered in human excreta, all for an autograph of Amitabh Bachchan, shots of kids sleeping on a pile of rubble, the luring & decapitating/blinding of slum children by gangs intent on putting them on the streets to beg - these might be repulsive to some, may give goose pimples to others, may make yet others to cry. But these things happen in the world which we try to distance ourselves from as much as possible, and which we love to pretend does not exist - just so our own existence doesn't become uncomfortable for us. They have been beautifully captured by Danny Boyle on film. Within minutes into the movie you get so engrossed in the characters and the story, you forget about the grossness of it all.

Did I feel the movie is overhyped? No, not at all. The only actor who I thought was overhyped was Freida Pinto. Her character has less screen time than the other protagonists, and Freida Pinto herself did not have much to do in the film.

I did not like Anil Kapoor too much either as the game show host. I think SRK would've been a better choice. He did a splendid job of hosting KBC, and I think he would've brought the required amount of arrogance and meanness to the character. SRK talks with a flair, something Anil Kapoor was not able to do to the required degree inspite of putting on an accent. SRK would've done it naturally.

This is definitely a movie I would like to own. Come to think of it, it took a foreigner to come to our country and make such a touching movie on our people. We could never have made this movie because we wouldn't have found the concept to be saleable enough. And that is why we it's highly unlikely we'll make it to the Oscars anytime soon. We don't have a vision & we're not able to take risks in life.


Moonshine said...

Maybe SRK didnt wanna create a doubt in the minds of people.. about how the hosts are!!! esp since he used to host KBC!!! :)

Even though hindi movies are recognised world wide as "entertaining", many of the Indian movies, make that most, will never ever reach Oscars.. not credible enough one might say and this when this industry entertains billions of people!!! Well actually if you think of it, even if an Indian would have made this movie as sensitively as Danny Boyle has done, with a full Indian cast, do you think it would have reached Oscars?? Food for thought...

Scarlett said...

Or maybe SRK would've been too expensive!

I think you're write about Indian movies not being able to make it to the Oscars. It's a case of cultural differences coupled with the 'Lost in Translation' bit. Western audiences cannot identify with our movies, and that's why we never make it in the race for the Oscars.

The knife said...

As you are aware there is a lot of controvery about SM. Typical comments being poverty porn, seeling out to the West etc.

Frankly I thought the movie was pretty good. The cinematography was great. Story was quite nice. Poverty did provide the initial backdrop. But does this mean that the West doesn't show its own poverty - Pursuit of Happiness, Cinderella Man are some examples. And what about children of Heaven? Does this mean that noone in Iran is rich? And Boyle's Trainspotting was far more disturbing and critical of his own country's youth

SM is a reality check left to KJ and YRF and SB you wouldn't even remember that there are beggers on Indian streets.

SRK claims that he avoided the role because it made negative insinnuations about people in the film industry. I think he just wants to be the central character of a Western Film.

AK wasn't bad in my opinion. His character was supposed to be over the top. And as the casting director said SRK would have added a bit too the confusion as they were trying to building AB as a big icon.

Some of the scenes are tough to stomach. But that's Boyle. By that argument Spielberg should be taken to task for not hiding the horros of war under a rosy ketchup hue in Saving Private Ryan. Anyway I averted my gaze at parts like the loo scene.

Problem is that we avert our gaze in real life too

Scarlett said...

@Knife - What negative insinuations did SRK think the movie was making about people in the film industry?

What's sad is that AB got so many supporters when he criticized the movie. But when Irfan Khan retorted that people who talk about not showing Indian poverty on the big screen should first ask themselves if they have ever stepped out of the comfort of their homes to do something about it, he got slammed. All because AB is a much bigger star than Irfan Khan. That's sickening!

The knife said...

@Scarlett: I am quoting what SRK said. Apparently the character was far more negative in the book. SRK said he was aware of that, as he had not read the script.

At least AK was honest. He said he hadn't heard of Danny Boyle. His (AK's) younger daughter enlightened him.

RE: AB, what was Deewar/ Didn't they show slums and construction workers - poor pieces of cinema though. And I am sure Coolies live a far less rosier life than shown in Coolie

Scarlett said...

@Knife - Re: SRK...As Moonshine mentioned, he was probably concerned that by doing the movie, he would be giving off an image that that is what hosts of KBC do, as he himself was the host.