Thursday, 24 February 2011

The life of a Slumdog Millionaire for 10zl

I'd heard about the film 'SlumDog Millionaire', but hadn't taken much interest. Looking in the newsagents on Monday, I saw that the magazine Viva! had a DVD film 'slumdog. milioner z ulicy'. It sounded familiar, but the title didn't mean much. Still, for 10zl, it was worth trying: the cover shows that it won 8 Oscars, including best film in 2009.

I really enjoyed it. A summary of the film is: A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. However, any description of the film will fail to do it justice: it will sound full of stereotypes, but the production manages to avoid cliche by treating children who grow up in slums as ordinary kids who will have fun in even the most appalling conditions - just the same as South Londoners in McDonald's. (See the last post, although the inter-connection was not planned.) Since the media, political activists and charities make their living out of presenting the slums as a place of abject misery and despair, the approach appears fresh and different.

The original language of the film is largely English, but there are some Hindi passages. I found myself looking at the Polish subtitles - perfect Polish is not needed. Indeed, I think I would have understood what was happening without help. (I vaguely recall that the UK version didn't have subtitles, but I may be wrong.)

Actually, although it didn't undermine my enjoyment of the film, a bit more Indian stereotype in the music would have been better for me - other US influenced, modern Indian dance music gives a better impression of connected cultures. I was also slightly disappointed that the Indian game show host was nowhere near as obnoxious in his TV delivery as the British and Polish hosts, but he does have his own fair share of smooth nastiness in another way.

As a final thought, consider why the slum kids are not shown working in some sweatshop making shoes or whatever for a western company. I don't think its anything related to do with commercial concerns - placement, etc - on the part of the film makers, but see what you think. Another side-swipe at Western activist obsessions, maybe?

1 comment:

Klaudia said...

I bought it also. I havn't seen this movie before. I really enjoyed it. This Viva magazine ahs now the series of Oscar's films. Next one is also good called Changeling. Hope that price stay the same.