Friday, January 23, 2009

Review of Slumdog Millionaire - English

I saw this movie last night, 22 Jan 2009 on a Paid preview show in one of multiplexes in Mumbai, India. The hall was only 1/3rd full, I do not know why such a lukewarm welcome for a movie that has won world acclaim, won hearts worldwide and won 4 Golden Globes. Just wondering!

I guess there are lot of reviews written but I think this will be one of the first from India by an Indian.

The best things first. A.R. Rahman - he is the one who has actually lifted this movie to the next level. The background score is a masterpiece! Hats off to him. He should deservedly get an Oscar for original score. He is a true genius and am proud to be a fellow citizen. Without AR Rahman the movie will go nowhere. It would fall flat, seriously.

The next best is the acting of kids. They are just brilliant especially the kid Jamaal and Salim was good at the last stage (like the guy you see in City of Gods) of his character. Latika character is so so through out the movie. The young Jamaal who plays WWTAM is OK but his expressions are flat. Out of 3 characters, Salim's character is well etched and all the 3 stages of Salim are done well by the actors.

The next best can be Cinematography. The camera moves with the kids and their point of view. The music supports the camera work. Screenplay & Editing could have been better.

The cons for the movie are
- movie language in English
- no character development.
- no depth in characters. For example, Jamaal is extraordinary in English and keeps upto date information. He can answer any questions that is thrown to him. How?
- loop holes in the script.
- plausible storyline.
- Emotional Quotient missing between Jamaal and Latika.
- think of bollywood movie in English, that SM.

The first thing you notice about the movie is language. The movie is mostly English and when you see good actors like Irfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla (the police constable) speaking English it is ODD. Our (my wife & me) initial opinion was this movie should have been taken in Hindi. The local flavour will have increased the credibility for this film.

The lack of depth in characters and a little bit more time to develop the characters would not have done any harm. We get to know Salim's character right from the beginning but Jamaal's and Latika character (lead characters) are left to us for our own imagination.

The most certain loop hole is Salim helping Latika at the end... Why would he do that? Why does he change??? We were puzzled!

The plot is too thin and plausible. Jamaal loves Latika from when and why? The emotion between them is missing. I cannot feel it. I just can't.

This is a real slick film and a good one. I hate to say this... it does not deserve the attention it has got. There are hundreds of movies which I can rate better than SM even in Regional films of India. I quote the example movie as Satya by Ram Gopal Varma as mentioned in one instance by Danny Boyle, is far far better than SM. The Indians who have seen Satya and SM can say they are different genres but you must admit that SM is nowhere near to Satya.

I gave a 7 on IMDB rating just for AR Rahman and the kids.

Go watch it if you have to else rent a DVD.


rainbowshark said...

You could not have been more right about this movie.
This movie is hyped beyond imagination.

Sriram said...

Thanks Buddy. I too found the smell of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" but that's a poetry. This is absolutely shit!

Lorena said...

my favorite songs of his:

Chaiyya Chaiyya

Sriram said...

Chaiyya Chaiyya is one of the most important song of AR Rahman's life. It gave him an entry to Bollywood films and he went on to create history!

Riot Nrrrd™ said...

Namaste Sriram,

I just read your review over on IMDb. I would post a reply but there are too many pages of the thread now.

I was wondering why you did not post this review in Hindi.

Now, pause to think about the irony of this for a moment.

You said it was strange to hear the actors speaking in English, and thought the movie should have been in Hindi.

Yet you posted a review in English, on a site read around the world so that English is the common language of communication for the site's readers.

If "Slumdog Millionaire" had been made by Bollywood and in Hindi, you would not have posted that review on IMDb. It would have been some little film that would hardly have been noticed outside of India. Your review would have been sitting here on your blog with a small readership.

You posted in English on a world-wide site for a reason, to communicate to a large audience.

Danny Boyle filmed "Slumdog Millionaire" in English for world-wide distribution for a reason, to reach a large audience.

I do think you had some good points to make (especially about the Jamaal-Latika relationship) but about the language issue I think you are dead wrong. Besides - isn't there a special Hindi-voiced version that was made as well, screening only in India? I could swear I read that somewhere.

Sriram said...

Thanks for the comment Riot Nrrrd™. I appreciate your effort.

I did not write the review in Hindi is simple because I do not know to write or read Hindi. I can understand and speak Hindi fluently! I guess there is one more reason for writing in English. I did my high school and higher secondary in Coonoor/Ooty convent school and I am used to think in English on everything. I can only smile at the irony :) that you have pointed!

I may be wrong on the language but my initial thought on watching the movie was it could have been great if everyone spoke Hindi. If you have seen City of God I think you will know what I mean. Just think of those City of God slum boys speaking in English!

I may not be 100% correct on my review but the hype that it generated was not felt by me. There is nothing gr8 about this movie... its a slick movie. Thats it!