So one day I was cruising IMDB and saw “Slumdog Millionaire” under Mahesh Manjrekar’s name. Then I noticed that Irfan Khan and Anil Kapoor were in the movie too. People, this is not some castaway cast. These people are fairly accomplished actors/directors. So seeing them together in a non-Bollywood movie was very intriguing.
Then a whiles later I saw the trailer. The part that caught me most in the trailer was when Anil Kapoor was dancing on the Millionaire set. So I wanted to see the movie.
I can kinda see why people like it so much, but not really. I may talk about specific incidents in the movie, so don’t read on if you don’t like spoilers.
Let me start off with the good. I loved the start of the movie (minus the shit scene, I didn’t ‘love’ the shit scene, but it got the reaction it was looking for), the camera angles and editing on the chase scene were fantastic! And I generally liked how Boyle filmed Mumbai. I really liked the child actors in the first part of the movie, and I realize now that this was aided by the fact that they spoke in Hindi. Their responses to some of the things were great. Conductor as he throws out the kids: “Baap ki train samjha kya?”, kid responds: “To phir tere baap ki train hai kya rey?”. Or something like that.
The ‘beggar master’ bit reminded me of A Fine Balance.
The filming style of the childhood days was reminiscent of City of God. But let us not fool ourselves, these are two very different films.
The storytelling wasn’t very clear. Initially I thought that Jamal’s older brother was just a friend or some such, this is so odd considering he keep saying “I’m the bigger brother” for the rest of the movie.
I would have preferred it if the entire movie were in Hindi. The British style accents did bother me, maybe they picked them up from the tourists at the Taj Mahal. Hah. Or maybe they shouldn’t have used Hindi at all, and gone totally in English. When you use both, you ought to maintain a realistic sense when one or the other would be used. So while it makes good sense to use English in the call-centre and the game show, it doesn’t make sense to use it in the police station while you’re dumping the head of the kid into a bucket of water. If I was doing that, I’d use Hindi.
I find it odd that Mashesh Manjrekar never ages. He’s seen in a car in the chasing scene. Then Salim goes to find him after killing the ‘beggar-master’ and then he’s seen again when all the kids are grown up. He never ages.
Also, if I killed the leader of a competing gang, when I join your gang, I want to be one of the top dawgs.
I find the whole Jamal and Salim relationship to be out of whack. He kicked him out of the hotel room and then recognized his voice years later when he call him from a call-centre? Ummm… no.
And then instead of calling up your brother (who’s kidnapped the girl you love) you give his phone number to the Millionaire people. Because, you know, that whole kidnapping thing won’t matter when you’re on live television.
Can you really tell a producer of your show that you fed the contestant a question and get away that easy, “it’s my show after all”. Actually no, it’s not your show, you’re an employee.
I wouldn’t have answered the last question, I’d take the money. But that’s okay.
So why would you wait at the train station sitting all sad like after you’ve won loads of money and you made up with Latika over live television? He could have bought a cell phone, and then called her, because he knows she has his brother’s phone. And it’s the only number our Slumdog Millionaire knows (except that he remembers everything else like lochs and the like, but doesn’t know any other phone numbers given that he works in a call-centre).
Why did Salim make a bed of money in the bathroom and die in it? He could have run away with Latika, got on a plane to another city/country and be done with the thing. Not like the goons can’t find Jamal and Latika later on.
I was disappointed by how short the dancing moment with Anil Kapoor was, but I enjoyed the dance at the end.
But in general, the characters, I didn’t feel were developed enough for me to care about them, specially Latika. Was also disappointed at the characters of Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan and Manjrekar.