Slumdog Millionaire is a Bollywood - movie
directed by Danny Boyle .
Starring Dev Patel,Ayus Mahesh Khedekar,Madhu Mittal,Frieda Pinto,Rubina Ali ,Anil Kapoor,Anand Tiwari,Sharib_Hashmi,Faezeh Jalali,Imran Hasnee.
`Slam Mumbai` - swarming slum of sleaze, sex and crime (IANS Film Review)
Danny Boyle`s Slumdog
Millionaire makes Mumbai look like a sewer. The film takes nasty
below-the-belt potshots at the underbelly of the city, portraying Mumbai as the
armpit among the metropolises.
Mira Nair once paid a warm endearing homage to the street children of Mumbai in
Salaam Bombay. Long before, Satyajit Ray in Pather Panchali
portrayed rural India as poor, but never as a gutter of misery.
It`s now Boyle`s turn to do a `Slam` Mumbai. The coming-of-age tale about three
orphaned slum kids bears just a passing resemblance to Boyle`s
rightly-celebrated Trainspotting where he trailed a bunch of misfits
through the streets of Edinburgh.
Slumdog Millionaire is Trainspotting on steroids. It`s a
beefed-up look at the scummy side of Mumbai, bewildering in its obsession with
discovering life in the slums of Dharavi as being a facsimile of that
drain-inspector`s report that Mahatma Gandhi had discovered in American
journalist Katherine Mayo`s account of India in Mother India.
Slumdog Millionaire is worse. It looks at Mumbai as a swarming slum
of sleaze, sex and crime with characters who seem to have jumped out of Rakesh
Roshan and Manmohan Desai`s cinema bruising their deep-focussed emblematic
quality while making this huge global leap from Bollywood to Hollywood.
After seeing Boyle`s much talked-about film, it`s crystal clear why this murky
and squalid portrait of Mumbai has the Americans preening in delight. At one
point after being thrashed mercilessly, our hero Jamal tells American tourists,
You wanted to see real India? Here it is.
Now we`ll show you the real America, the American lady replies
handing Jamal a $100 bill. This, without any apparent sense of irony.
There is a very thin line dividing slick from scum. Slumdog
Millionaire doesn`t stop to make those subtle distinctions. It moves at a
frenetic pace creating a kind of sweaty energy that one sees in marathon runners
in the last lap of their journey.
Boyle is constantly busy whipping up a hysterical banshee of sights and sounds
in Mumbai denoting the embittered angry generation of the underprivileged class
that grows up in the slums dreaming of the good Life.
Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle shoots Mumbai with a gun rather than a
camera. Every frame conveys the killer instinct. Every shot ricochets across
eternity solidifying sounds and feelings that are otherwise intangible.
Yup, this is a film on a mission. It wants to exploit the Mumbai slums as a
hotbed of tantalising images conveying the splendour of squalidity. And to think
every prominent member of the cast and crew went around proclaiming Slumdog
Millionaire would do wonders for Mumbai`s tourism industry!
Yeah, right. It does as much for the cause of Mumbai as Roland Joffe`s The
City Of Joy did for Kolkata. That much-vilified film at least secreted a
core of humanism under its pretentious surface. Slumdog... doesn`t
even pretend to care for the city that it so unabashedly cruises in search of
From frame one Boyle goes for the jugular. Every scent and stench of the city is
converted into a liquid asset. Groups of defecating young boys running out in
otherworldly ecstasy when they spot Amitabh Bachchan`s helicopter hovering above
head becomes a celebration of lowly life.
Our protagonist Jamal dunks himself into excreta from head to toe and wades
through the disgusted crowd to get Mr. Bachchan`s autograph. The star signs
calmly, as though exceptionally smelly young boys covered in human waste are the
odour of the day.
Such moments define Boyle`s attitude to Mumbai. He sees it as city where humour
emerges from human waste.
But who`s laughing? Even communal riots are not spared of this tantalising
trivialisation of abject misery. Rioters descend on a Muslim locality like
bandits attacking a village in the Chambal valley. A mean Mumbai Mafioso (Ankur
Vakil) gouges out orphans` eyes and makes them beg on the streets singing what
appears to be his favourite bhajan - Darshan do ghamshyam.
Even Madhur Bhandarkar got it better in Traffic Signal. There`s
absolutely no sense of historic sensitivity in the narrative.
If it was not for Ram and Allah, my mother would be alive, says our
regretful hero Jamal after the riots.
Such corny dialogues, so much a part of Vikas Swarup`s novel, is minimised in
the film. But not enough. Some of the outrageously filmy plot manoeuvrings from
the novel like the game show host (played in the film by Anil Kapoor) turning
out to be Jamal`s illegitimate father, are done away with.
But the film nevertheless remains as wedded to kitsch and as ridden with
coincidences and implausibility as any formula Hindi film.
In fact, the two runaway brothers from the slum being called Salim and Jamal
seems like a backhanded homage to Salim-Javed, the pair that wrote the hit films
of the era that Slumdog Millionaire adopts.
Each time game show host Anil Kapoor has to provide our callow hero Jamal a
clue, a flashback highlighting the theme of the quiz-question is conveniently
arranged in the plot.
Squalour never appeared designed than it does in Slumdog
Millionaire. Bollywood has never been more audaciously honoured. This
over-hyped and disappointing film that insults Mumbai, culminates with a
Bollywood-styled item song on a railway platform.
"Slumdog Millionaire..." hero Dev Patel is being honoured with the Asian Game Changer award for 2017 by the Asia Society in recognition of his "using celebrity to place a spotlight on India's poor".
Slumdog Millionaire Synopsis
Winner of the 2008 Toronto Film Festival People`s Choice Award, 4 Gloden Globe
Nominations and Winner of Satellite Awards SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Slumdog
Crorepati in Hindi) is the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18 year-old
orphan from the slums of Mumbai, whois about to experience the biggest day of
his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from
winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India`s Who Wants To Be A
But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of
cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his
innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his
brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious
encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Freida Pinto), the girl he loved
Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game
Each chapter of Jamal`s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned
the answers to the show`s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question
remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches
really doing on the game show?
When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the
Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out…