Friday, February 27, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - So What's the Fuss?

Slumdog Millionaire -
What's the fuss with this Hindi movie now? Well let me bug you a lil' and tell you, how amazing this movie actually is.

All the hype and sensation, the positive reviews and a chunkful of Academy Awards swept off including Best Picture and Best Original Song and Score, it’s impossible to resist myself from watching Slumdog Millionaire, and taking a look at what fuss the movie is all about.

A ‘dark horse’ in the movie industry, the screening of Slumdog Millionaire in Malaysia comes at the best time ever. This would be my first time I ever watch a Hindi movie in cinema. No offense, but I never took a liking to watching past Hindi movies in the past because I always see myself getting bored watching the dancing and singing again and again.

The moment I stepped into the chilly cinema hall waiting for the movie to start, I noticed that the people in the audience aren’t mostly Indians – a large portion of them are mostly Malays Indians, and foreign tourists most likely attracted to the positive reception the movie garnered from the Oscars.

I have realized the fact that Slumdog Millionaire, despite having relatively unknown Indian newcomers, doesn’t cater to only the Indian audience alone as we often think so – it is suitable for just about anyone no matter the race and language of its audience. Something that critics overseas never realized how big the potential this movie has, and something we could only see in a multi-cultural country like Malaysia.

Slumdog Millionaire has all the elements a movie needs – action, drama, romance, tension and treachery yet it makes itself different from other Hindi movies due to its marvelous screenplay and portrayal of the story.

The story focuses on a 18 year old youngster named Jamal Malik who is seen as representing the slums of the middle-class, the poverty and ill-treated community in the heart of modern day India. He joins the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ but he’s not in it for the money but he’s in it for a different purpose – reuniting with his true love.

Being looked down in the competition because of his origins and status, remarkably he answers round after round of questions and is close to winning the jackpot of 2 million rupees.

Unfortunately, he was arrested by the police on suspicion on cheating in the competition.
They interrogated Jamal by torturing and electrocuting him, forcing him to tell the police how he could possibly know the answers to every question.

Instead, Jamal reveals to the officers – he doesn’t cheat, he knew the answers naturally through the events he had in life since he was a small child living together with his brother Salim deep in the poor rural community of India.

The movie is filled with flashbacks of his inferior childhood. For example, he knew the answer to the first question based on Amitabh Bachan because he had asked for a signature from his most favorite actor despite diving into a heap of waste to do so. He knew whose face is on the American hundred dollar bill because he has donated it to a blind beggar who actually comes from the same cruel orphanage as he is. Moreover, he also knew who invented the Colt revolver when he tried to save his love, Latika from his brother, Salim at gun point.

The movie even keeps the audience to their seat – creating a tense atmosphere in the cinema where it keeps us nervous and excited about a reality show, a show that we sometimes took for granted when it is shown on our TVs.

I just loved this movie because of its deep narration about a doomed child trying all his might to find his love ever since, even to the extent of joining Who Wants to be a Millionaire to get her attention. But the main focus of the story is revealing to us a rich and vivid description of the poorer society living a traditional life in India, showing us the inhumane side of humanity as depicted by Jamal’s past orphanage’s ill will in manipulating its children to beg, but also make known to us that all hopes in life is not lost.

Danny Boyle’s breathtaking direction of this Hindi movie was certainly amazing – he managed to capture the ethnicity of Indian culture, while putting a western twist on the Bollywood movie industry.

Luckily the movie ends with a happy note – Jamal did win the reality show and swept off the jackpot to the amazement of all the people in India. He reunites with his love, Latika. And his brother Salim despite being a bad brother to Jamal, actually turns himself good in the end.

Remember when I said this Hindi movie is being different than its other counterparts? Yes, there are some scenes when the actors do speak English to my relief, and I am thankful that the movie ain’t having lots of dances that might distract me from the real story – even the audience stayed back when the credits roll because the dance and the Oscar winning song Jai Ho were just so captivating. I realized dances are what makes Hindi movies a charm and its uniqueness, but not too many dances for me please.

Conclusively, Slumdog Millionaire is a top-notch Hindi movie ever, and I’ve changed my admiration for this movie instead. The last time I liked the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this time Slumdog Millionaire clearly is one step ahead from Benjamin Button. Brad Pitt, step aside.

Slumdog Millionaire prevails for the first quarter of 2009!

Take this chance to watch this movie, get yourself to the cinema or *lazy-bums* buy a copy of a CD. You should not miss this!

1 comment:

  1. i have watched this one. it is damn good!! the real India. no wonder they won Oscars