Saturday, April 11, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire


Let us all head to the nearest MRT station and do the Jai Ho dance! Yehey! HAHAHA. I do not get Bollywood Dance sequences, the jerky head moves give me the creeps. None of that here. I enjoyed the end credits.

I was contemplating on giving it just four stars because I have read the book. I am not saying that the novel is a piece of fiction worthy of a Nobel prize, in fact some people argue that it is mediocre because it is written in simple English. I just like the characters there better. And there are more surprises in the book plot-wise, though some appear contrived.

Nevertheless, the film was able to offer its very own version of characterization and plot that did not compromise the essence of the story. For that, even if it was not that loyal to the book I still believe that it is a great adaptation. Oscar well deserved.

One of the subplots I loved in the book was the ironic life of Bollywood star Neelima Kumari. Actually, she IS a pivotal character in the book, sort of, though I will not tell you why, HAHAHA. She was totally snubbed in the film version. But I do understand the limits of film as a medium, and I think Danny Boyle was still able to tell a story that is more appropriate on screen. Boyle's version is also more realistic, in my opinion.

I do not like how Salim became a gangster here. In the book he was not the brother, just a childhood friend. And he was the starstruck boy, kind of naive. Very far from the violent character portrayed in the movie.

I do not remember a Latika in the book. A love interest did appear but it was at the near end of the novel. I do not remember if the name was Latika, but the character's participation in the story was minimal.

I do not have an opinion regarding the debate on whether this film is an accurate depiction of Mumbai or not. Even Salman Rushdie is joining the ruckus. What I can tell is that slums do look the same all over the world. You might be anywhere in the world but the face of poverty looks the same. Just look at how similar an Indian slum is to a Filipino slum. This movie does not tell you that, we have all heard about it a million times already. Instead, the movie shows it to you. And then you realize, wow, it is true. Poverty is a global problem.

What I like about the story in general is the participation of the main character in a game show, and how the non-linear plot revolved around it. I liked how it somehow showed the different side of the game show experience, the insider view. I am not insinuating that game show hosts are evil in real life. I am just saying that the experience itself is not as fun as it appears to be on TV. In fact your nerves could actually kill you in there and the pressure is very very high. Being a game show story is enough for me to become an instant fan of the movie and the book.

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