February 02, 2009

Hope and Survival

Last two weeks two movies hit the down that people have been drooling over. First was Slumdog Millionaire, which thanks to its late release was watched almost by everyone on their pirated DVDs. Sometimes I feel bad about this whole stance I have taken on watching movies only in Theatres. It’s not making me any richer.

Anyway, the other movie that was released was Luck By Chance and again the audiences in the multiplexes seemed to love it. Strangely though, both movies seemed to have similar underlying themes of the underdogs fighting all odds, stuff that great stories are made of; I guess.

Slumdog is a good movie. It definitely is not a masterpiece. It’s the classic Rise of the Underdog that the US audiences love. It however aided Indian film making like few movies have done. When we do our movies on Mumbai’s underbelly, we either go to extreme darkness or we put a moral shroud and put on the tinted glasses.

Slumdog does none of this. It shows Mumbai as she really is. Life goes on in the city whatever you might get from it. Survival is important and it’s that primal instinct that drives the movie. And perhaps Jamal’s brother walks away with the role that’s the most complex and also beautifully portrayed. He’s the guy thrown into adulthood as their mother dies. Jamal remains the kid of the family and he is the protector and thus as the protector, at times he demands his pound of flesh. But then this is a feel good movie. So he must realize his folly and pay with his life but die a man who has earned his redemption and as the public dances to the tune of A R Rehman we all feel nice and secure.

I don’t mind someone from outside our world coming and commenting on an India we have swept under our carpets. Sometimes they are the best judges. What I mind however are people watching the movie in a multiplex, sipping on their Coke and munching their popcorn, spending more than 500 Rupees in the process and then denouncing the foreigner who’s not portraying India Shining. Somehow, they didn’t seem to have the authority to comment. Not that I do either.

One extremely irritating fact however was that people actually found the scene where young Jamal decided to jump into human excreta extremely funny. People actually guffawed and someone on whose intelligence I have little respect, told a gathering, “Yaar who scene kinta cute tha na?”

Luck by Chance was closer to India Shining Reality and therefore far more digestible to the above mentioned audience. It spoke of the outsider into the greatest dynasty ruled industry of India. And for the outsider, being at the right place at the right time is all that matters - Amitabh Bachhan and SRK, the greatest outsiders to have ever made their marks.

LBC was an insider’s view on Bollywood and therefore it had to have the stereotypes that the voyeurish audience would lap up willingly. In fact, if anyone reads Mumbai Mirror regularly, they would know beforehand what was going to happen next. Slightly slow in pace, LBC suffered from predictability and an inconclusive end. It’s great if things are left to the imagination but then it should not make one feel, “Arre!!! Movie’s over, is it?”

I’m reserving my comments on Farhan Akhtar. I’m yet to decide whether I like him as an actor. But every single person in the cast played their part perfectly. Maybe it’s because they were playing people from their own lives. But if someone just stole the show, it would have to be Konkona. As the starlet who never made it, she stole my heart (again). Hrithik had the best scene of the movie though when he played with the children through the tinted window of his car.

LBC gives us Zoya Akhtar as the director of tomorrow but frankly it achieves nothing more.

6 comments:

kavity said...

"I don’t mind someone from outside our world coming and commenting on an India we have swept under our carpets. Sometimes they are the best judges. What I mind however are people watching the movie in a multiplex, sipping on their Coke and munching their popcorn, spending more than 500 Rupees in the process and then denouncing the foreigner who’s not portraying India Shining. Somehow, they didn’t seem to have the authority to comment. Not that I do either." - Strong!

sayrem said...

"“Yaar who scene kinta cute tha na?”"


bet u it was a she. bet u anything it was a she. :)

Soumya Sen said...

Slumdog Millionaire was a movie with a typical so-called "romantic" storyline that Bollywood churns out daily. But it did start with an impressive way of presenting subplots towards the beginning. But it became dumber and dumber as it progressed, culminating in that silly dance sequence at the end. I can't believe that this film is high up on the list of Oscar favorites, beating Milk, Doubt and Wrestler. Oscars are not the classiest award anyway. If you want class then go for the movies that win at Cannes! The French still have the real taste.

WSW said...

SM was a 80s potboiler presented by a foreigner. I dont have a problem with any of the 80's potboilers and so I dont have a problem with SM. What I hate is the fact that had an Indian director been at the helm, the same movie would have been called regressive, dark , slow etc etc but now under Boyle and Oscar shadow is being hailed as a masterpiece.

As for LBC, yes there is no new story there but I guess to really appreciate it you have to be really really in love with "Bollywood". And Vikram was a character whom you cant hate despite his blatant lying manipulative ways because maybe you would have done the same things in his place.And it shows him successful because of his ways. A long cry from the hero having a fit of remorse and giving it all up for the sati his gf is!

CJ said...

loved the bashing on the people bashing the movie - well said!

koko love again! is that why u liked PIC also? :D

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@Kavita - Thanks :)

@Sayrem - How could you be so sure?
:)

@Soumya - could not agree more

@Divya- I love Bollywood and her dreams and thus LBC worked for me.

@CJ - :D