Sunday, January 25, 2009

Like dogs and cats

The thing about Slumdog Millionaire that gripped me the most was that it was a good, long look at life below stairs. I mean, how much does a multiplex-frequenting, popcorn-chewing crowd know about toilet etiquette in the slums, or why slum kids are sharper than their English school-educated counterparts, at any age?

I didn't really agree with some parts, though. Till the end, I was a bit fuzzy about how Jamal does get into the game show, or why the riots needed to be shown in a stereotypical manner, when the rest of the film is anything but stereotypical. Yeah, it's a throwback to the 80's Bollywood with its flashes of idol worship ("Amitabhbachchan!") and you kind of guess what Maman must have done to Latika as she falls behind the moving train and can't get on fast enough. Yet, it's the kind of dizzying look at a world within the urban world of Mumbai city (and elsewhere) and which is, in fact, a bigger world than most of us realise.

How fitting that Sandy and I actually walked a short distance through an actual slum the same evening that we saw the film. It's not like I've never visited a slum before, but every time I do, it's like finding yet another labyrinth and a whole lot of open secrets.

And oh yes, Ayush Khedekar simply stole my heart. He's the kind of kid you want to cuddle because he's so cute and watch intently because he's so expressive. In fact, the littlest Jamal was the most effective.

Good background score, though not very earth-shaking. Makes me wonder again what the Academy is really looking for, but what the heck.