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Jan 02, 2009 09:02 PM 4992 Views





Main Aur Films?!: I am not a movie buff, am not much into technicalities of movies and the works, but I know a GOOD FILM when I see one. And when I love a film, and when it strikes a chord somewhere deep down, I am not ashamed to call it OUTSTANDING! And this is one such!

WHAT's IN IT? It stars Dev Patel as Jamal Malik. Dev Who? Yes, 'Dev Who' is Who He is! Until the twists and turns of his life and fate threw him from one hot seat to another. Until the Hot Seat he was on happened to be the max-eyeball 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' on TV, hosted by Anil Kapoor, a la our own KBC (music, sets and all). The host and the crowd ridicule the chai-walla of a Tele Call centre, not the typical contender at a KBC, who has landed in the Hot Seat. Until the questions start flowing.

Right from the first question of "Who Stars in Zanzeer", the 5-second 'think time' rewinds to spots, moments and memories (mostly ghastly, beastly and in poverty) in the sadly eventful journey of life of Jamal Malik and what those events have imprinted on his juvenile mind.

Born in the Dharavi, seeing his mother killed in Ram-Rahim riots, giving shelter (in the doorless domain shared by him and his brother Salim) to an orphan Latika, making her the 3rd Musketeer, ending up in an organized begging racket, escaping the hot spoon bearing his name to turn him from 'beggar' to even more 'high value' by the added 'attraction' of a 'blind beggar', running away to Agra and losing Latika, earning his morsels as an untrained, but confident, self-declared tourist guide at the Taj (in stolen footwear), returning to find Latika at Mumbai, being stabbed in the back by his own brother for the glittery underworld life, finding employment serving tea (in the meanwhile picking up some good GK!), more ....

JAMAL MALIK's is the story of a boy forced to turn man by sad and hard twists of fate and in ways which could only have made him bitter against the world. But the warm feelings he nurtures for Latika over the years lead him to try his luck at the Hot Seat, in the hope of her spotting him on TV and their chancing a hand at turning one, rather than the charm of the Millions to be Won.

The very fact of a street boy (SlumDog) answering all questions right leads to suspicions of the host that there is some fraud involved, resultant police investigations and hard-core interrogator Irrfan Khan, through whom we know of Jamal's trysts with fate and how life has shown him moments, which the world interprets as answers to the "Millionaire" questions.

SlumDog turns Millionaire, in the bargain unravelling a good plot with a subtle love story always hesitant to step over the wall which fate erects, some tender and some not-so-tender brotherly emotions, true glimpses of the dirty underbelly of Mumbai's slums (though some gore and dirt could have been avoided, despite the reality factor), the mental and temperamental insecurity of even a Millionaire Show host when faced with a SlumDog who seems to have everything going for him, the reality that is life in the slums at the centre of India's very own Mumbai... and much more, including answers to some really intelligent questions!

PROs: Absolutely convincing acting by Dev Patel (well supported by the entire cast, including Freida Pinto as Latika, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan), a gripping and taut story line, extremely memorable background score (AR Rahman, who else!) and some real hard mirror images of life which most of us have been fortunate to never have been witness to, but always knew existed.

CONs: Almost none, except that the gore-n-dirt factor at times gets too much for the subtler sensibilities of PLU! Hard core Hollywood fans will complain that the film is Bollywood-ised! But, folks, here is an excellent movie showing a very true (though not a very proud one ,at times) face of India to all who care to see. Here is steping aside from 6-packs, 300 dancers and 1 MUSD sets, to create a strong and realistic film without much frills. And when you have a product so fantastically crafted and delivered such as SlumDog Millionaire, a few so-called Bollywood-isations are the least you can forgive!

After all, we need to laud the effort of such a brilliant movie made by Brit director Danny Boyle, rather than notice the few hairs standing out! When one Spielberg made Jurassic Park, nobody asked why Dinosaurs in the movie had 2 teeth and 4 scales more than they really did! Bet you never even observed!!

RECO: The individual performances as well as the team effort stand out, providing the viewer with 2 hours plus of gripping and intensely involving drama and in the end, leaving a feeling within that WE are indeed fortunate to be on this side of such fences of life!

MUST SEE, but definitely NOT with children (for the language and the few crudely real shots).

But if you like light movies, skip it.

If you want song and dance every 10 minutes, skip it.

If you want chocolate faces on lead faces and 6 packs and hourglasses below it, skip it.

But if you want to catch a simply brilliant, hard and hitting film, the likes of which we only get to see just about once a year, Check it Out!

I give it "SUPER HISTORY"!

Leave the kids home and Go Watch It!

(You will know why the Dinosaurs had 2 teeth and 4 scales more, for sure!)

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