Watching Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is an experience you will not forget anytime soon. This is the same man who gave us the sticker-shock laden Trainspotting in 1996, a doomsday dystopian world thriller in 28 Days Later and then an about turn with a heartwarming Millions in 2004. With Slumdog he has once again proven himself to be a the unexpected film-maker. What I mean by that is one cannot put him in any “genre-director” bucket. Example: Hitchcock, Scorsese etc.

If I have to categorize Slumdog in some genre then I will call it an escapist-realistic-romantic-thriller-comedy movie. At the core, it’s a simple story of the underdog emerging victorious in the end. The story is about a boy from the slums of Mumbai who ends up winning the “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. No, I am not giving away the plot to you, believe me , I am not. It’s how you arrive at this climax is what makes for a wholesome, satisfying journey. You know the feeling you get after eating a simple, delicious meal after being hungry for hours – watching Slumdog is the cinematic equivalent of that feeling. It’s the brilliant screenplay of Simon Beaufoy (adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A), Anthony Dod Mantle‘s camerawork and AR Rehman’s background score which takes the movie to the “good-just-got-AWESOME” level. They colelctively infuse tremendous energy right from the first frame of the movie which continues till the very last frame. They capture the images, colors and sounds of the underbelly of this city in a manner which has not been seen on the screen before (I can think of Meera Nair and Declan Quinn doing the same for Delhi in Monsoon Wedding). The movie offers a heady mix of sappy melodrama, realism, humor and those silly-courageous acts that you come to expect from the main protagonist.
Go watch Slumdog this winter, you will walk out with a wide smile and a full heart – despite the depiction of the grim lives of thousands of children living in these slums. Ohh, and did I mention the end credits: Spectacularly Groovy!!
Viewer Discretion : The movie is laden with profanities (Hindi and English) and some shockingly violent scenes involving children.
P.S.: To all those cynics who will say “the West only wants to see the ugly India to garner good reviews for movies set in the Indian Subcontinent”, six words: Context and Honesty to the Medium.
P.P.S: I watched this movie when Mumbai was under siege by 10 terrorists in the last week of November 2008. The movie further cemented the fact that there is so much life in this city, it will take millions of terrorists with millions of guns and millions of bombs to take it away.
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