Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is Slumdog Millionaire A Top Dog?

I have been wanting to write about this movie like...a few months ago. I mean everyone in my family is talking about it during our family colleagues are orating the movie during our brunch time...and the internet was literally choked with all the "Slumdogs" a few weeks back.

Slumdog Millionaire is damn highly acclaimed and the film had won an amazing 8 Academy Awards (out of 10 nominated)...which I thing is not utterly deserved....IMHO, at least not all. Why? It's easy because there are a handful of other Indian films which is equally good or perhaps better out there but yet to win anything. Besides this movie is not very original since it is adapted from the novel Q & A. Of course a host of other movies rolled out lately are all adaptations but many had echoed that Slumdog Millionaire is known for is originality in its story.

Is Slumdog Millionaire really a great movie? Does it live up to all the hypes and fireworks revolving around it? I'm not entirely sure about it. As a self-proclaimed avid movie-goer, I actually passed this movie when it was screened. I guess I was not so into it. But due to sheer curiosity I did grab the DVD and watched this so-called "greatest" movie of all time with my wife and we both thought that the movie is...(find out at the end)...

The curtain is raised with a plump policeman tormenting the main actor Jamal Malik, a former street urchins from a slum. Why did Jamal end up in the cell beaten up by a policeman?

Don't make me drag you to hell!

You see, poor Jamal is a contestant in the Indian Version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and he is only one question away (scheduled for the next day) from winning the ultimate prize-20 million rupees. But the contest host, Prem Kumar, suspects that Jamal is cheating and he tip-off the policemen to apprehend him. They assumed Jamal is cheating because it is highly unlikely that this bloke is damn knowledgeable or super duper lucky. Which I thing is logical to almost everyone right?

Those were the days...

Here comes the interesting part...Jamal then tries to prove that he is innocent by explaining to the policemen why he could answer all the questions. In the beginning the police thought he was fabricating stories to convince them, but they soon realize that Jamal is telling the truth after all. Actually Jamal knew the answers all by chance, because of the things that happened to him in his earlier life. In other words, his life experience (childhood memories) has helped him answer all the questions in the contest. My! I wish my life is as "RICH" as his. The story then bring us back to Jamal's childhood with a series of flashback narrating the part and parcels of his childhood chronicles. This story flows back and forth relating all the questions and answer in the contest. It's like a story-in-a-story movie if you like. I believe this idea is pretty brilliant.

Is that your final answer?

Ok, that's all on my part. I'm not going to leak anything...anymore. But I can tell you that Amitahb Bachcan and The 3 Musketeers were in the movie. So do you think this movie is worth your precious time and money? I believe the answer is...a YES!!!

The Verdict...
I have to agree that this movie really gives me an enjoyable time. But to say that it is the greatest movie ever to grace our silver screens is totally a big NO-NO! So should you waste your time, money and all the trouble to watch this in the cinema? No. A DVD would be sufficient.

Aww....the sound of nature call...

For one thing, I really don't like the British English that they speak in the movie. It sounds so artificial and out of place most of the time. It will fare much better if they just stick with their own native language. The second thing that drags this movie is the mediocre performance by the lead casts. Seriously...I can't feel any depths in their acting and they can't connect to me in any way. I believe Brad Pitt's performance in Benjamin Button is miles ahead of them.

All in all, this is the typical Indian movie that revolves around hardship and how good prevails in the end. It intends to deliverthe message that anything can happen and the movie itself is a prove right? Perhaps our expectation for this movie is so damn low, so much so that when we watch it, we make rave review about it. So is Slumdog Millionaire a Top Dog? YES, of course. But not a Great Dog yet!

P.S. Sorry to all the Slumdog Millionaire's fans out there. If you think this review is skewed, I can only apologise. But I must admit that I fancy the idea of rags-to-riches story. :D