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.