Monday, February 23, 2009
I have been wanting to write something about Slumdog Millionaire ever since I watched it. But since everyone was already talking so much about it, it kinda seemed rhetoric. Anyway, what difference would it have made? But today, as Indians cheer for the Oscars that the film won, I just cannot stop myself.
Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars. Smile Pinki won 1 too. But why are we happy? Slumdog is a Brit film, shot in India. Just like A Mighty Heart was a Hollywood film shot in India. So let us not fool ourselves into believing that Indian cinema has been honored. But yes, Pookutty and Rahman have won Oscars for their talents. Their Awards are well deserved, and so are the congratulations.
But I just wish that they had won their Awards for a better film, for better work.
Slumdog is one of the lousiest films I have ever seen. The film is nothing, but a delibrate attempt to glorify poverty and show India in the worst possible light. Films that focus on the plight of poor kids, blind, slumdwellers, riot affected etc are always a big hit at the Oscars. After all, isn't that exactly what the Westren World wants to see? They want to see us as an undeveloped country with people killing each other, kids having their eyes poked out etc. All this makes them feel better about themselves. Danny understands this perfectly, and has made sure to use this to his advantage.
For thos of you who are not in the know, the film does not have the title of the book. The original book is called Q & A. The questions in the original book have been changed, to make the plot more interesting, or shall we say, moving? Danny has employed very possible trick to show us in a bad light. From cameras, to lighting, to locations, everything has been done extremely carefully. The director has meticulously avoided all locations and shots where India can be shown in a decent way. Except for the Taj, of course. But then, Danny compesates for that also by showing "the real India" immediately after.
If Danny wants to massage Western egos, who am I to object. I am so glad that SRk did not do this film. It is beneath his stature in Bollywood. It is degrading to every Indian. I respect Shahrukh a lot more just for this one decision. I am sure he must be as glad as I, that he did not do the "nasty quizmaster" bit. Though I have no doubt that Rahman is a genius, just like Gulzar, I wish they'd won their Awards for something better. We have seen both of them do so much better work, haven't we?
Their work in Slumdog is almost as mediocre as the film itself. Yeah, 3 Oscars in India don't hurt. But I m surprised that this is the standard of Oscars. I mean, we have seen much better music and lyrics and films....does this mean that we are way ahead of the Oscars? I'd like to think so!