Jan

25

SlumdogAfter ten academy awards nominations, Slumdog Millionaire has suddenly caught the fancy of every Indian, including other film-makers, artists and the likes. I got to view this movie today.

What struck me was a rather ingenious business mind that is securely and fairly quickly taking over the Bollywood masala-movie-making adventurorium. Think about what such a movie would have done during "good times" unlike the "gloomy times" surrounding the globe today.

It's about a dream-run wherein the least expected of any — a slumdog gets to win the ultimate game of acceptable avarice, who wants to be a millionaire, igniting the passions, the morale & the imagination of a world grappling with a meltdown. Throw in high-strung contrasts of skyscrapers jutting out of vast slums spinning a yarn of a rare positive black swan wherein the entire life-sequence of a guy growing with the flow (sounds familiar with the traders' going with the flow) comes to be captured in a set of twenty or so questions. Any probabiliticist would be inspired to see how a rarest of rare flukes gets enacted out, wherein each travesty of a man carried in its womb the answer to each critical question to his final glory.

Luck, chance, bravado, the persistent human spirit and most importantly the all important element of hope in these times spin around. Each of the three child/adolescent actors who portrayed the growing ages of the central character has done some brilliant acting bringing out the made-of-steel character in equal measure. So, perhaps this movie instead of getting a best actors award (since perhaps it cannot be given to three individuals for playing the same character together) could be deserving of the best director's award for bringing such performance out of new actors.

SlumA catch line in the movie where the malleable brother of the slumdog who has already sold his soul to a gang lord surmises that India is today at the center of the world and he is at the center of the center is the ring fence around the commerce of this movie. The Chindia fears of the West stand diluted in the backdrop of the pain of the slums and yet on the other hand this same moment ignites the global morale back again. A beautiful deploy of the transferred epithet. The other line that comes into justifying my assertion happens when Slumdog yelps to his tourist clients at the Taj Mahal, "You wanted to see the real India, here it is" on being bashed by the tourists' chauffeur when they all return to find that the car tyres and everything else that could have been dismantled have been and taken away by the cronies of the slumdog kid. In sympathy the American Tourists pass on a hundred dollar bill. Yes, this movie tells the Americans that howsoever much goodness you would dole out the real world "Out there" is just what has been shown — a deceitful, emotionless slum!

Even with my critical eyes, I switched off the screen and the player with an elevated morale, that one could just do it, even after landing in a slum.

A savvy commercial play on the mass emotions of the times, produced with one of the lowest budgets with which a film has been made in Bollywood. It perhaps is on its way to jingle the cash boxes in an unprecedented way.

But then, in a free market economy wouldn't the consumer get what it needs most? Here it gets, the "Slumdog Millionaire."


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