A big goofy grin. That's what you have on your face when you walk out of Slumdog Millionaire. Brilliant all the way to the last frame.
Danny Boyle's latest film featuring debutant Dev Patel is so good! There's just no other way to put it. When a friend mentioned a while ago that I should watch it, I didn't think much of it. How could a movie with a title like that be? Sounded too morbid. I was so wrong.
Based on the book Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of call center tea boy who lands himself a place on the primetime Indian Television Show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, based on Who wants to be a Millionaire?
How can an ordinary chaiwala from a mobile phone company call center in Mumbai know anything about the world, least of all enough to win hom 20 million Indian rupees? The kind of money that his lot will never see in a lifetime, putting him in the same category as more than 80 percent of the working Indian population.
Slumdog Millionaire is true to all that it shows of India. My only criticism may be that nothing of "other" India had been shown. The "modern," "advanced," "new face," of India. It may have helped in showing to the world that India is more than chawls and outdoor bathrooms. But if the movie is showing at sold out shows across the city and country despite a limited release, a sixth sense says that they probably know about that part anyway.
It's a different experience watching an independent Indian movie with an American audience. Unlike Indian movies starring six-figure super stars, this one had faces no one had seen before but grew to like quite quickly. And the audience was almost all-American. In fact, I may have been the only exception.
The movie also refreshes reasons why you love India, as ironic as it may seem in context of the material. How do expanses of poverty, helplessness and sheer filth remind you of loyalty? Because it makes you reliaze you love India, warts and all. With its traffic jams. With its dysfunctional system of power. With its volatile tempers and unpredicatble days. We love India. For it's fun-factor. For it's strength. For it's spirit. We love you India.
A.R. Rahman's soundtrack is brilliant. The kind that sends a tingle down your spine, similar to the feelings of patriotism that his rendition of Vande Mataram invokes. The camerwork is flawless - fast paced and well edited, throwing you right in the middle of the action. Danny Boyle has made a meticulous movie that surpasses expectation. Two thumbs up to Dev Patel.
Go watch Slumdog Millionaire for its enthralling story. Go watch Slumdog Millionaire to support independent cinema. Go watch Slumdog Millionaire to join in the celebration called India. Or just go watch it for the sheer love of movie watching. It's worth more than the price of the ticket and the popcorn.