Slumdog Millionare aka ‘Slumdog Crorepati’s’ promotion has been awful so far, at least in India. Far from being informative,they are in fact rather misleading. For a film, which hardly incorporates any song, especially as a narrative technique,it is disappointing to note that the trailers focus more on the songs rather than the content So, forget the horrific promos, overlook the not so inspiring ‘ringa-ringa’ song, cast away your apprehensions and embrace this brilliant film with open arms.
One must give director Danny Boyle credit for injecting so much originality and freshness in a theme , so grossly overdone in Indian cinema. Never before has the city of Mumbai ,with all its intracacies and nuances been projected so perfectly .Even though the movie depicts the daily trials and tribulations of Mumbai slum dwellers brilliantly, it primarily tracks the unique journey of three slum kids. It narrates the tale of Jamal ,the protagonist who finds himself on the verge of winning two crore rupees in the gameshow ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ . The show , with the charasmatic anil kapoor as its host, holds the various threads of the story together,allowing the plot to go back and forth in time without any confusion or break in rhythm. All the answers that Jamal knows are somehow, intricately linked to some of the most important events of his life. Unravelling the mystery behind these links only serves to pique the excitement further.It is refreshing to see that even though the movie takes up various social issues like the deplorable condition of the police force, communal riots ,the great class divide, at no point does it become preachy.
Anthony Dod Mantle’s cinematography is absolutely brilliant. Slums have never looked so breathtakingly gorgeous. The composition is fantastic and the top-notchlighting goes a long way in conveying the desired mood or emotion. Similarly, editing (by Chris Dickens) too plays a pivotal role in this film ,for inspite of the non linear narrative, at no point does it leave the audience confused. Admittedly, it does get a tad bit monotonous in the middle,which is an immense drawback for a two hour film. The much talked about music, for which Rahman has won international acclaim is fabulous and by that i mean not just the songs but the background scores as well.
Coming to performances,I feel the Anil Kapoor and the child actor who potrays the young Jamal deserve a special mention .From brilliant emoting to a connvincing crisp dialouge delivery, the child has done full justice to his role. Anil Kapoor too plays his part with great panche potraying an array of emotions required of his character perfectly. Irfan Khan too is decent in his limited role. However given the context and setting of the movie a poliiceman, speaking english albeit interspersed with a few hindi abusesseems rather out of place.Freida Pinto as the ‘senior Latika’, fails to deliver. The ending with actors dacing on the railway platform as Ringa ringa plays on, is ridiculously melodramatic.
Slumdog millionaire is certainly not the epitome of films coming from or depicting India, in the sense that there are others more worthy of the ‘accolades this has won.Even though i personally the movie has been a bit over hyped, let my negative conclusion not deter you from seeing it for its most definitely a one time watch.