What a film! I finally got around to watching Slumdog Millionaire last night and have to say that for once, the film exceeded all the hype that’s been thrusted on us since its release.
Quite uncharacteristically for a Gujarati to shower superlatives on someone else, but I have to break tradition and insist that we salute Danny Boyle for his direction, AR Rahman for a beautiful sountrack, and of course, Vikas Swarup for writing the book in the first place.
I can understand the reasons that some people – mainly Indians – are kicking off about the film – it shows India’s shameful poverty like no other film has – and in these times of intoxicating economic growth – I can see why they’d want a better narrative to portray India, but let’s not forget that a third of the world’s poor reside in the motherland.
Not surprisingly, those non-Indians who’ve watched the film – who i’ve spoken with over the past few weeks, have all said that despite the poverty depicted, they’d love to visit India.
Even if Slumdog walks away without winning any Oscars this year, this film will have done more for India and Bollywood than the past two decades of films (since Gandhi), heavy investment for the Incredible India advertising campaigns, her cricketing prowess, and diplomacy of India’s elite foreign service, all bundled together!
I recently interviewed Kishore Lulla, CEO of Eros, which is India’s most successful film production and distribution company, for a book I’m writing on Indian business going global, and it was he, who prophetically said that India’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would come from nowhere – a total suprise at a totally unexpected time. Looks like he may have been right.
Slumdog, at least in my opinion, should surpass the impact of Crouching Tiger, as it speaks volumes not just about the Indian film industry but for modern India as a whole, unlike its Chinese equivalent, which for me demonstrated how far its industry had come along. In the case of Slumdog, its not Danny Boyle, Anil Kapoor, or even Dev Patel that’s on show, the story is simply about India.
Brilliant film, a must see for anyone interested in India.