What do you say of a movie that has won four Golden Globe Awards and is nominated in 10 categories at the Oscars? What do you say of a movie that has already wowed the critics and audience alike in the West? What do you say of a movie that has released with such rave reviews [minus doctored media hype]? Well, I just have this to say, it's a masterpiece! You don't even need a review to make up your mind to watch a 'once in a lifetime' experience in Indian cinema. Just go for SLUMDOG CROREPATI (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE in English).
For an Indian to watch the underbelly of poverty is just another day on the street. This is not to say that there is no poverty or crime in the West or the dirty underbelly to explore there. It's just that it's so exposed and 'in your face' here, that for us, instead of shocking, it has become a way of life. But for Danny Boyle, the director from the West, he came, he saw, he sketched and then he captured... and how! It takes a person of intense creative intelligence to do what Boyle has done.
Cut to cut, the film is a marvel. The shift in scenes from then to now, as Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is on the hot seat with Anil Kapoor on the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, is slick. The tracing of the root of every answer Jamal gives on his way to the winning jackpot is stuff of what 'genius' is all about. Jamal's nerve of not falling in Anil Kapoor's trap, gives a new meaning to the phrase 'street smart'.
Slumdog... is a movie about a boy from the slums who lands on the hot seat of the game show. The movie is told in the questions asked and the answers given by Jamal. It traces his life from childhood [his mother, his struggle to survive along with his brother, his love and his dreams], till the time he hits the jackpot
There's action, painful romance, a dash of humour, life in the slums and the underbelly of crime. Everything is neatly packaged and delivered to the viewer. Yes, some scenes are unpalatable, but then that's the reality of life. And Danny Boyle is pulling no punches... he just delivers them in style.
Dev Patel who plays the central character of Jamal is a fine actor. In fact, he overshadows Anil Kapoor and the rest of the cast. The younger actors who play Jamal and his brother Salim are simply awesome. They take you on their journey with such glee not knowing what's in store at the bend. Freida Pinto as Latika is a class act. She lets her eyes do most of the talking. Mahesh Manjrekar, Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla all lend credible support. Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala the boy who plays a slightly older Salim (Jamal's brother) is a revelation. Ditto the boy who plays the role of a slightly older Jamal.