There has been a lot said on Slumdog Millionaire. And I have resisted saying much. If I dont like it, why harp on it? is my policy. What if I missed something nice in it? Its very much possible. Afterall sitting to watch the movie with a Pizza is the worst possible situation. But now after a few phone calls which kept mentioning the movie, and this and this, I will tend to agree with Rediff.com (and not just because Great Bong is quoted to my agreement).
I agree. I liked the movie for movie's sake, but nothing more. And the end credits? Yawn. The dance was as non-Bollywood as it can get. Same goes for music of Rahman or MIA. Rahman has done much better, but dutifully surrenders to western demand of 'jhinchak' music for SM, and MIA has done much better with her Paper Planes (though I find her other music not to my tastes especially Jimmy, and...er... dont get the point of Boyz - its just english wording a Kannada folk song).
And thats what the movie is like. A ho-hum idea meant to please some ppl, has good pace and direction but nothing more. Believable? Nothing of it is believable.
First question that pops to mind are the police men on bikes with sticks chasing boys from a runway. er? And actually following them home to their Mom? Never. Leave such things only to Black Friday-like chase sequences where plainsclothes policemen chase terrorists. No policeman worth his salt will chase children into Dharavi from the airport, in uniform, while a nice cup of tea awaits them along with their more serious regular duties of keeping adults in place.
Then the Amitabh Bachchan autograph sequence - if you want me to, Ill believe that he does stand on the airfield signing autograph for impoverished dirty people, but its very difficult.
The movie just moves from one impossible thing to the next, managing to assimilate as much gory and grisly-ness as possible. I would forgive all that if the love story were strong (yes, there is a love story here), if the actors were good, and if there was some string to the narrative.
When was the last time an audience laughed at a poor man on a national game show because he was poor? Never in India as far as I know. When did boys hang from trains to steal from tiffin boxes? (Im woefully unaware of this) How did they end up in Agra and back? CST/ VT station as a meeting point??! Latika and Jamal have zero chemistry, can barely say their dialogues - and they are supposed to grip you. And the dialogues! Horrible.
(PS - why was the hero a muslim boy runing away from Hindu rioteers anyway? Why was there a blue Ram standing there to frighten them and everyone including the audience during the riots?)
OK. So I must have missed something in the movie. My bad. But even if I look at it very positively, apart from the directorial work, nothing really impresses. You can get away with making anything improbable in India as far as movies go. But there is a line. Left alone, this movie would have bombed at the BO. And Im not blaming the storyline.
But it wasnt left alone. Some very clever people knew exactly what they wanted out of it - just like Rahman knew what he wanted when he gave that totally missable music (whats with the lyrics anyway? Jai Ho?! Why?).
I mentally equate the movie to an iPhone. Yup it looks good, but it has nothing real to offer and has undue craze and affection. Give me a Symbian/ Win Mobile anyday.
I give the movie credit to leave everyone with an opinion on it. I also meant this to be just a note along with my shared items, but it became too long.