Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let Sleeping Slumdogs Lie!!!

Hello fellow freekies,
is been a while that I have been visiting these a new year, a time for new beginning, and from the media buzz screaming at you from every rooftop, it is the year of the dog or rather the SLUMDOG!!

That's right fellow Freeks, Slumdog Millionaire, seems to ready to topple "Gandhi" as the most widely watched movie, that ever featured us Desis!! (umm, there was that little number called Monsoon wedding).
Given its fast frenetic and unapologetic pace, Slumdog has come in for equal amounts of pace and criticism including some from that aby-baby sr. himself! (perhaps he is miffed upon being caricatured in the film?...surely Mr. Bachhan, u are aware that imitation is the best form of flattery! )
Adapted from the Vikas Swarup novel "Q&A" (which ironically had its share of sales increased in no small amount by who else, but slum kids peddling it across traffic signals; the movie features the twists, turns and trysts (yes, i alliterate quite well , thank u!) of Mumbai slum-kid Jamal Malik (voiced in a Brit accent by the otherwise earnest Dev Patel) who has to come to terms with his winning the jackpot in India's version of "Who wants to be a millionaire!" , all the while trying to win back his ladylove Latika (played by the lithe Freida Pinto!!) from the clutches of the stereotyped Mumbai king-pin (played by Mahesh Manjrekar) the movie also features crackling cameos by Hollywood's favourite Indian Irrfan Khan, and yes, Anil "jhakaas" Kapoor!
The movie, in an uncanny way bears semblance to Boyle's other masterpiece "trainspotting" in its frenetic pacing, wicked dialogue, and yes that scene involving a toilet (or well at least the indian slum equivalent of it!) .

To give the devil (or in this case, the slumdog) its due the movie, has its share of flaws, the very very least of what could be the stark portrayal of the Mumbai street-life; and the alleged "stereotyping" of Mumbai's poverty by a "firang" or "gora" aka white director, but then is it such a raw deal? for mountains of trash, and shit that dot the mumbai slums in which the protagonists thrive, can only be portrayed as well...mountains of trash and shit, and isn't our own bollywood guilty of stereotyping the "gora" as either the foreign business-man or drug lord out to rob Indian treasures, or ravage the modesty of the buxom bollywood beauty - only to be thwarted in his plans by the son-of-the-soil hero! ask our very own Bob-Christo (yes click on the link!) or Tom Alter who have paid their bills for years in playing such stereotyped roles. And in resting my case, isn't the aforesaid Mr. Bachhan guilty of at the very least, of all such stereotypes in just of his movie masterpieces called "MARD!"
So , fellow Freekies flush away your frets , for beneath all its sheen, and wisecracks, Slumdog is at its heart, a coming-of-age movie, and nowhere is this more evident than in the scene where the street kid of today (Dev Patel) sits across the host of "Who wants..." played by Anil Kapoor.

yes that very Anil Kapoor who has played the street-element in several movies of yore (Tezaab, Mashaal, Loafer and even Parinda, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the latter portion of this movie), this fellow freeks is a passing of torch moment from the old street "tapori" to the new "slumdog" the new breed of Mumbai's street-smarts who are not just content with running the local gambling-den, or flirting with the grocer's daughter, but are gunning for the big-time, the prize-money, the girl, and yes the celebratory dance at the end of it all!!


reevi said...

you so right about the stereotyping of the firang, (except for the Rang dei basanti chick) Jerry Pinto, wrote about this, I think in a book about Helen, on how most of the villains and non-Sathi-Savithri women where always portrayed by non-Hindus, non-Indians, or people of mixed races. Right after Independance the 'loose woman' was mainly portrayed to be anglo or christians.

The same use to happen in Hollywood where the nationalty of the villains used to change depending on the war America was fighting ( mostly in the action genre). Its only recently in these diplomatic days that most of the crimes are committed by an' international crime synicate'. And unfortunatly Bollywood largely remains a single genre movie industry.

Amitabh must have toned down his rhetoric on slum dog cause Aishwarya got a Padma award. dont want too many fingers being pointed there.
I have a feeling he is under contract by Big Adda to generate statements to get traffic. Its a nice formula , talk shit , get the hits, and then retract.
Im also pretty sure he doesnt write himself but has some exec doing it for him.
Junior AB must be gunning for a Noble peace prize. Might have got it also if the sensex had nt fallen.

FREEK said...

Hey, thanks for the concurrence...
although not quite sure about ab jr. aiming for the nobel prize!


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