Won't watch Slumdog Millionaire

A friend of mine let me watch a few minutes of the movie on her laptop other day. I must have watched some 20-25 mins of the movie and that was enough to make me decide I am not going to watch the rest. I am totally for showing the reality of India as it is through movies, and the lives and living conditions of people with limited means is very much a part of it. There are two ways this side of India is projected through art (be it paintings, books or cinema). One is to use it as a powerful background for the subject, and the other is to show it in a way that makes the jaws of the foreigners drop. There is something very sadistic in the later approach and Slumdog personifies it.

All the scenes that I have seen are very real. That is exactly how the slums are, and the lifestyle depicted is pretty accurate too, but the way it has been shot makes me feel quite angry. I am not suggesting we should hide our reality under our carpets. We should not, but I surely will advocate for a more delicate treatment -- one that blends well with the story and retains the realistic representation of lives of the poor. Slumdog is not there for me. There are many more movies out there that did a fantastic job of giving the right treatment for this subject. One movie that scored a 10 on 10 for me is a South African movie called 'Tsotsi'. Tsotsi is a slum movie too, but the background gives the movie a character that Slumdog could not manage.

I would have reluctantly given my nod for Slumdog Millionaire if the intension of making this movie was to raise funds for NGOs working for slums in India, but this is a commercial movie which in my mind translates to "come, buy the ticket to watch the 'poor India' and be amazed at how poor it is. You will love what you will see." No offense meant -- a lot of hard work and research must have gone into making this movie, but sorry, I have seen better ones than this. Watch Satyajit Ray or Amol Palekar moives, and you will know what I am saying.