Friday, January 23, 2009
Little Jamal and Salim riding the train to a better life, in Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire has been getting a LOT of hype, and a lot of people have asked me what I think of the movie and how accurate it really is.
SM is a brave movie. I'm impressed that for once, a story about India's poverty was told with such authenticity (in terms of how it was filmed, where it was filmed, and who acted in it) that it was refreshing. Its sad that it took a white man to tell a brown man's story. And many Indians, particularly the Bollywood elite are notably angry and irritated. But maybe that's what it will take...some semblance of shaming them into action. Its about time Bollywood (and all developing countries in general) started putting out more movies that are authentic and reflective of life as it really is, rather than churning out the monotonous nonsense they do (sorry Bollywood fans, but it is true!).
I haven't spent a lot of time with streetkids or in the slums...maybe several months at most. But their lives really are hard and like that. They do whatever they can to survive - eating, sleeping, begging and traveling all over the place. They aren't born begging...they are often taught to do it and often do it against their own will (until they realize the lucrativeness and stay on with it); they are molested, sold into sex slavery, blinded and maimed in order to line someone else's pocket with money. It is a sick and pathetic world.
Few streetkids will ever speak English or have the confidence to speak back to upper caste people the way that the older Jamal or Latika do...and that's probably the only big move from reality (well, and there would never be any PDA in the streets!). But a lot of the rest of it is true (including the toilets...I've used those toilets and they stink like there is NO tomorrow!)
GO WATCH IT! Trailer here and below: