Saturday, June 13, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: Bollywood from a Westerner’s point of view

“Slumdog Millionaire” the name might have “dog” in it but the movie came out to be a dark horse. When released, nobody thought that Slumdog Millionaire would be so well received by both audience and critics all over the world. It won some of the top movie awards as well. The movie is based on the first novel of Vikas Swarup named “Q and A.” Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of Jamal Malik, a Muslim boy who grew up in Dharavi slums. Jamal Malik is uneducated. Yet, he becomes a contestant in “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Luckily, he answers all the questions and makes it to the final round. However, the host of the show, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), suspects him of cheating. Jamal was then arrested by the police. The story of the movie then unfolds and shows what happened before.

Slumdog Millionaire was first shown at the Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2008. The movie got positive response in the ceremony. Then it was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the People’s Choice Award.

Slumdog Millionaire is just another example of a movie with great story. It does not matter whether a movie has heavyweight stars, great locations, or beautiful songs. All you need is actors who can truly portray the characters and a good story. The story of Slumdog Millionaire is a fairytale story but it is said in a way that people would not feel anything absurd about it. Slumdog Millionaire shows how the luck of a poor Muslim boy, who grew up in slums without any family, turns around. The story has lots of similarities to those of the mainstream Bollywood commercial movies where the unrealistic and unbelievable are a regular happening- rich girl falling in love with poor boy and turning against her parents and vice versa or a poor man becoming rich overnight, which was a major theme of many of the hit Hindi movies of the 80s. It is another reason why Indian movie goers find the movie very enjoying. Slumdog Millionaire is like a Bollywood movie made from the viewpoint of a western movie maker.

Many people are saying that Slumdog Millionaire gives the audience a peek into Indian poverty. Yes, it is true that poverty is very much there in India. However, it is not only India that bears this burden of poverty. Poverty is very much of a problem in all the South Asian countries and even China has high rate poverty. It is true that Indian economy observed a steady economic growth over the last two decades but that economic growth was not evenly spread. Only few Indian provinces reaped the benefit of this economic growth. The other provinces are still the same. Even in ultra-modern cities like Mumbai there are poor people. Poverty is very much of a reality in India but it would be totally unfair to judge the country by its poverty. India, despite its poverty, has many great things to offer to the world and it is one of the powerful countries in Asia.

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Wikipedia- Slumdog Millionaire

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