Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - a poor effort

There are two reasons why I did not like Slumdog Millionaire. One is that I expected a mountain out of the movie. And two, the movie did not offer even a molehill.

Before any brows are raised, let me introduce you to my movie yardstick. My judgment of a movie is based on a few simple parameters. The plot should be original a.k.a. fresh. It should be water-tight. In the end, it should be one fine story very well told. Cinematography, editing, sound tracks and anything that serves the purpose are welcome. It shouldn’t be the other way round.

Is Slumdog original? Well. Though the premise has changed, the core remains pretty much the same as many others – poor mans turns rich against all odds. But that, I guess, can be forgiven. Because as Scott Adams once said about jokes, there are only about a hundred of them. The rest are merely altered and manipulated versions. So are stories.

Slumdog opened extremely well. There was intrigue; a little conspiracy; good performances; even the underdog; all crucial ingredients for a compelling story. The little guy locked in a public latrine, smeared in shit, running to meet his idol. Very understandable; very romantic. Expectations met. Even more built. Big mistake.

The plot began to fall apart from there. It was as if the director was in a hurry to end it. Or it could have been a failed attempt to make it a fast-moving thriller. Edge-of-the-seat stuff. The kind of edge you reach when you are about to get up and leave. In the end, it was evident that the movie had worked backwards. It will be even clearer, if you have the guts to watch it again.

It is quite normal for the filmmakers and writers to leave a bit to the imagination of the viewer/reader. We love it that way. But Slumdog left quit a bit too much to the imagination. I felt as if I was watching an edited version of the movie – censored on the grounds of being detailed; Benjamin Franklin for instance. Exactly the word I was searching for – details. Missing. For most of the movie.

And what was with Mr. Anil Kapoor’s character? For all the ego the man has, demeaning a contestant on a reality show watched by a billion people is but a sad attempt - one to justify the man’s villainous intentions towards the end. Another pointer to suggest that the story was working backwards. A truly commercial ploy. I haven’t read the book, and hence am in no position to criticize the author.

To sum it up, it was an unfortunate piece that was highly overrated, misinterpreted and incomplete. It was a wonderful story. But in the end, it was an effort that shamed the theme. It was more or less like Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Night At a Call Center.’ Desperate gibberish sandwiched between a fabulous beginning and a decent ending.


Sridevi R said...

I totally agree with you. With lot of expectations I started munching my popcorn but had to slow down. How many movies have we watched with the same slum life and sufferings depicted in different degrees and levels! Lack of novelty in thought and emotions made it 'just another movie'.

Probably,...the movie is by and for the western crowd at large, but the basic pleasure of watching a good movie with something clinging to the memory after the end is missing.

It has a loosely strung plot as you mentioned. The characters are so superficial and we find it difficult to empathise or sympathise with them. It fails to make an impact or make us sad or joyous or terrified or spooked out, we dont experience anything. We just walk in and out as if nothing happened.

Apparently, I found some Canadians applauding for quite some time after the end though. Maybe, it captured its audience.

Let's wait to see the Oscar winners.

phoenikhs said...

And while we hate slumdog unanimously, try 'Amal'. Lovely!

Sridevi R said...

Thank you. I checked the trailer...Ahhh...enticing, now hunting for the movie.

Soumya said...

Nikhs! I forgive you for making this statement before Feb 22.