Monday, February 16, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: What it means to us?

इसका हिन्दी अनुवाद यहाँ पढ़ें.

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For millions like me raised on a staple-diet of commercial Hindi cinema, there’s nothing particularly novel about its plot: the relatively lukewarm response it has gotten from Indian filmgoers compared to the rapturous applause elsewhere is proof of this. Its rags-to-riches tale could well be a cinematic-metaphor for India’s own rise during the period in which Jamal, Salim and Latika's lives unfold. In so many ways, it is the story of India as well as those who have lived here through the tumultuous past two decades.

Its phenomenal ‘rules-breaking success’- to paraphrase the longtime film-critic, Roger Ebert- therefore owes equally if not more to the disenchanted times the world suddenly finds itself thrust into as it does to the movie’s delightful intrinsic-charm: after all, what better medicine than a good healthy dose of unbridled Hope wrapped in wondrously uplifting Jai-hos to cure the globe of its seemingly insurmountable Recession-blues? All the other films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars reflect the Gloom around- but also, within- us; none with the solitary exception of this film offers a way-out: even- or, especially- if the way-out is an implausibly exhilaratingly happy ending. And that is precisely what makes it work.

I leave you with this particular mise-en-scène: as Jamal weaves his way through Mumbai’s reptilian traffic to answer that one last remaining two million-rupee question, a wrinkly old beggar knocks at his car-window. Thinking she has come to ask for money he ignores her at first only to be confronted with the realization that she doesn’t want his money at all; on the contrary, she wants him to win it all. “Béta,” she beams to Jamal as he is driven away, “jeet ke aana.” [Son, win & come.] His victory, after all, would be hers as well. Much as Slumdog Millionaire’s victory on Oscar Night would be India’s- and also of Underdogs everywhere.

4 comments (टिप्पणी):

Hitendra said...

It is a very good movie indeed. Truly a bollywood style. Freida Pinto was good, Irfan andSourabh Shukla as expected. And Anil Kapoor was just great.

Dr Saibel Farishta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hassan Aman Katghora said...

Dear Amit,

Why is everyone so eager to jump on this bandwagon? If not for the unbelievable shower of awards, this movie would have slipped into deserved obscurity. Manipulative...flashy...provides a caffeine-buzz but no real nourishment....exciting to viewers who may just be easily pleased....I was annoyed and angered by the way the filmmakers expected viewers to respond to this horror-fairy tale....the more sensitive viewer would not be dancing in the aisles, and those who expect more from their art and entertainment would most likely not be inspired.

Hassan Aman Katghora

ritesh said...

itive viewer would not be dancing in the aisles, and those who expect more from their art and entertainment would most likely not be inspired.

Hassan Aman Katghora

11:18 PM IST

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