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The City of Dogs
Jan 17, 2009 10:17 AM 2707 Views





Indian cities or slums, or rather Mumbai is a much focussed territories for film makers. The gray sides have been already been exploited by film makers like K.A.Abbas(Bambai raat ki baahon mein), Sayeed Mirza(many films), Rabeendra Dharmaraj(Chakra), MIra Nair(Salaam Bombay) and recent films like'Traffic Signal', 'Mumbai meri jaan', 'A Wednesday'. But only when a westerner makes one on this, it makes news and even awards.

To say honestly, I would say the above mentioned films showed us the true side in a rather unromanticised manner, and here we see the Sahib's version. The plot is rather unique, I should say and the screenplay based on the original work is very intelligent and enjoyable and is a real entertainer for an average filmgoer. The Crorepati knot from which the plot is spun, is really a scriptwriter's delight. The way the pratoganist finds the answer for the questions from his own life is very interesting. But is the movie, on a whole, sincere? I feel it looks down on Indians.

Here we see slum urchins, straight from'City of Gods' teasing the chasing cops in narrow lanes. Wow, Indian cops are so serious in their job, that they chase kids for kilometers together. We see a kid jumping straight into the'holy pit', (sorry, the correct word is not permitted here) with the superstar's photo, and comes out fully'iced' from top to bottom, the photo undamaged, to get the Star's autograph. And the Star must be a God, to autograph, without any trace of nausea.Crazy Indians! The slum kids enjoy the privilege of being taught Dumas''Musketeers' in their elementary school, with the teacher holding a mega text book. The typical Hindu goons massacre poor minorities in public and to top it all, we have a'made up' Rama with bow and arrows to highlight the issue. When the whole city is on riots, with torched men running haywire, the cops play cards in their jeeps. And these cops are really interesting persons. Only two of them interrogate a youth, who is accused of a sensational fraud, in a Police station.

The very dark side of the beggar scam is well illuminated with characters like Memon, who spoon out the eyes of the kids. The blind beggars make more money, and when they sing a'Surdas' song, the revenue is more. I heard somebody say, that this is not even a Surdas song, but a filmy song, I hope someone will clear my doubt. The kids escape from Mumbai and travel ticketless in trains. They prefer stealing to begging, and some stunts are also enacted on train tops, which will even make a Dharmendra tremble. The Agra scenes are also hilarious, I mean to westerners, who even may be made to believe that Mumtaj died in a road accident. The return to Mumbai, freeing the girl friend Lathika from Memon killing him with a'colt', the staying in a'star hotel' which has no receptionists or pageboys in the vicinity. a beautiful fairytale. The hero, an elementary school drop out, is highly knowlegeable in computer. He searches data bases to find his lost brother and even applies for the'millionaire contest' . And like all fairytales the film has a happy and absurd ending with a typical group dance thrown in. I wonder why it has been added, as the movie is quite serious and not a spoof.

The actors give tremendous performance. Anil Kapoor's role is too snappy unlike the real caring Amitabh. But all in the game.A.R. Rahman has made us proud by winning the Golden Globe, but I haven't heard the music of other contestants, yet.

The film is a real entertainer like other Indian films. But as a winner of global awards, I may be right in expecting more quality in par with other International winners. And as the world has become small, more authenticity on subjects may be expected.


When visiting places like Agra, have an extra set of footwear and park your car in proper places to avoid being stripped of tyres and valuables by street urchins.

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