Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 Movie Review #1: Slumdog Millionaire

I am not a real movie goer. The thought of sitting in a theatre watching a moving and doing nothing else for 2-3 hours just about sends me over the edge. The Coolidge Corner Theatre is about a 10 minute walk from our house and on the marque, the sign said "Slumdog Millionaire." Joseph had said he wanted to see it. But I was less inclined; having traveled to India more times that I wanted to, sitting through a MOVIE about India was not my idea of afternoon entertainment. So imagine my reaction when Joseph suggested we go see this on January 1. He even made a case by saying that John the Nephew had said that even I would like it. Huh.

I reminded him that the movie we watched the night before (Eight Below) sent me into the depth of sadness and melanchology (and yes, I know it is supposed to be an "uplifting" film so you can see how skewed my film genre definitions are).
Well, Parker Morse has a pretty good over all view of the movie on his blog.

If you see the movie, the thing to remember is that India is exactly as the movie shows it. The rich are very rich (you do not see that many of them in this film), and the poor are poorer than the stray dogs that roam the streets. And there are so many people that it seems that people are expendable in many cases. There is no digging out when you are so far deep whether by birth or cirumstance.

The other thing of note is that the streets in the movie was much cleaner than when I've been to India. And the most notable thing is that the rickshaws are much dirtier and dustier in real life.

And yes, there are definitely Chaiwala's. They serve tea in the offices. I have one when I go to India. But they are not typically that tall, light skinned, or speak English that well, if they speak it at all. Of course, they can't have an illerate highlighted in the movie, right? Alrighteee...

India is so often presented in some highly romantic fashion. The British said that you can't tame India. And that is so true. The Indians can't even tame it. For me, in my view, there is no such thing as a "romantic India." Unless you consider the Taj Mahal - the biggest icon of a man's love for a woman in history. Instead it is a land of very hard divisions and harsh realities, population explosions, the haves of India trying to keep up with the "haves" of the rest of the world, and tripping over themselves in the process. This is a country where they have almost as many words for "yes" (all with different meanings and connotations) as the Eskimo have for "snow."

I would encourage you to see the movie.
But then it will also show well on Netflix in 6 months when the DVD comes out.

Oh. And sit through the end.
In true Bollywood fashion, it sends with a lot of singing and dancing.



Blogger sudhir said...

Your comments on India are on the dot.

We have both rich (who are getting richer) and the poor (who are getting poorer)in India.

Wish we could have got your views on the film. I have read the other review, but getting your thoughts on what you had seen would be great, given the fact you have spent time in India

Norwich, UK

1:27 PM  
Blogger Chris Hughes said...

India makes me SOOOOOO Mad. so much potential. Completely screwed up by the very people who could capitalize on making a difference.

It really pisses me off.

I expect I will be headed there, this year to get my Pune team whipped into shape. I will be dreading that trip.

Because of all of this, I too, would have a hard time mustering up the strength to see this one.

7:32 PM  
Blogger J said...

Yup. Exactly. You hit it on the head. They argue about everything and then do nothing. We are looking at selling our captive right now. All I have to say is they did it to themselves. I could go on and on about this.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Chris Hughes said...

> I could go on and on about this.

Me too.

7:58 PM  

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