Monday, February 16, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I dont usually talk about much around here minus food. Much much less movies, mostly because after the little ones arrival we've barely had a chance to watch anything thats not a dvd release. But my sister insisted on us watching this, she even volunteered her fiance's and her own services babysitting while we got away for a bit on Valentine's day. So we took her up on her very generous and selfless (if you know my little guy you'll know its nothing if not true) offer and went. The closest theater playing it was some run down almost shady looking mess which I later found out was actually a "restored" beacon of community effort--whatever. With traffic that day, us being 15 mins late and the sickeningly cheery, giggly couples I was not in a particularly good mood. So when the poor hubby asked if I wanted something from the concession stand I spat out, "something sweet but not chocolate or anything fried", yes, it was that time of the month. Of course he came back with a box of Raisinets--chocolate covered raisins. Great! Just one of those nights, I thought to myself quickly burying the darned raisins out of sight to avoid yet another outburst, with my luck this movie is going to top it all off and be super sucky.

And then it starts, with the question how a kid from the slums was able to answer questions that eluded the smartest, a. did he cheat? b. did he know the answers? c. something else that I dont remember or d. was it destiny?. Then there are clips of the Indian version of "Who wants to be a millionaire", I never quite understood the hype about the show except that it was hosted by the iconic Bachan but in this version there was none other than Anil Kapoor aka the Hairy Snake (you should see the man in many of his past movies without his shirt-- blech!). Ohhh...not a good start. But...BUT... as the movie progressed (and I wont devulge details, because the beauty of the movie was in the minutia) I was slowly made a believer. What was most endearing was how accurately Mumbai was captured. I remember visiting as a kid and (thanks to a terrible bout of food poisioning) paying rupee after rupee to relieve myself, as did my mother, my grandmother and sister. My uncles just made themselves comfortable out on the street. I loved the fact that they depicted India in its entirety, the slums, the high risers, the uneducated, the well trained, the naive, the exploiters, the gullible tourists and the little kids who glue back caps of mineral water bottles routinely as such adding new depth to recycling. Its a great movie, highlighting that Indians are not just one kind of people, ie, the backward, curry smelling, Apu-like (from Simpsons) talking people but we are "individualistically" different, we are Muslims, Hindus and (for good measure) Christians who sometimes fight as do siblings but we are survivors we dont let things bog us down, we just move on-- from the slumdogs to even the annoying telemarketers who (you have to admit) are trained on the current affairs of a country miles away and know more than even the locals. We are not just an ignorant race, who worship many gods, celebrate many festivals and break into song or dance at the drop of the hat. We are not just that...but we are ALSO that, thats why everyone breaks into song and dance at the end of the movie!!

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