8 oscars. That’s what ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ won. I read the movie review on Roger Ebert’s site a long time ago, much before the movie even started making waves.  Think I read it on 12th Nov. (I am a regular on his site). I was absolutely amazed by the review and the PoV with which Ebert viewed it. I felt it would be really thought-provoking.

“Slumdog Millionaire” bridges these two Indias by cutting between a world of poverty and the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” It tells the story of an orphan from the slums of Mumbai who is born into a brutal existence. A petty thief, impostor and survivor, mired in dire poverty, he improvises his way up through the world and remembers everything he has learned.

Interested. Atleast that’s what I thought. I eagerly waited for the movie to be released here. Eventually through my sources (heh), I saw the movie. My first reactions were:

1. Was Ebert bribed into giving 4 stars? – No, can’t be… hmmm…

2. Was it that it’s just me? … I asked my roomies and my friends. Same question 1 in their minds.

3. Is it because of the ‘pity’, ‘sympathetic’ response of the English the reason? A lot of Indian ‘movie’ critics state it to be the reason.

I was soon given another shock by the sweep @ Golden Globe and the BAFTAs. I was shocked when it received 10 nominations for the Oscars including the Best Movie and the Best Direction. What?!

Here’s a consolidated list of awards from Oscars, Bafta, Golden Globes:

Best Pic, Best (Adapted) Screenplay, Best Director, Best Song/Music, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing.

Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles!! WTF. I see it as the faux and set-up of the age with respect to movies.

Best Pic? It wasn’t worth kissing the toes of any of the other nominated movies. It didn’t have anything better than an ‘average’ storyline. It wasn’t good as the movie it was, almost, plagarised from: Salaam Bombay. (I’ve not seen the latter, but a new article states the similarities, so sorry if the story is ‘entirely’ different). The latter mentioned is more authentic as well.  Forget that, considering that oscars committee now looks into less ‘commercial’ movies, it overlooked one which is even more worthier: ‘A Boy in Striped Pajamas’. And not to mention ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Wall-E’. Two superlative movies in EVERY damn award that this less than mediocre movie has won. These 2 movies tell a tale of ‘hope’ in much better ways than bumdog millionaire. What a travesty!

Best Director? Danny Boyle is talented and genuinely humble in his approach. I agree. But Oscar for this?! If so, then trainspotting should’ve gotten 10 Best Director awards… given 10 times over.  Again, Clint Eastwood and Christopher Nolan – the latter NOT even the listing. Wow. :|  Who are the Oscar Committee sucking up to?!

Best Music/Soundmixing/Original Score: Truly disappointing. It was like making fun of a great musician. A.R. Rahman deserves an oscar, but not for this. ‘Jai Ho.’ – Was that even a good song? Atleast a likable one? Compare his work in Delhi-6 to Slumdog, you’ll see… Again, the OST in Slumdog – except for ‘Latika’s theme’ & ‘Mausam and Escape’ were less than average.. no, infact, considering the usual substandard quality of songs in bollywood, it was average, or slightly above it. That’s it. But again, it wasn’t really gelling in with the movie as much as Hans Zimmer’s work for DK. That was truly dark, haunting and totally enhancing the movie experience. And the mixing work too, was just a 100 times better than SM. Atleast, that’s how I felt. And so did many I know.

Best Film Editing: Now, giving this to SM when the contender was ‘A curious case of Benjamin Button’ was indeed a curious case. What editing is there in SM?! Atleast compared to the other movie. There too, Dark Knight was better than SM.

So, why did it win? I am baffled. Also, lost all interest in Oscars. Atleast this time and maybe from now on.

Slumdog Millionaire does have something that it could’ve shown more and pushed deeper for: The state of our country. Abject Poverty. I am happy they showed it. But disappointed that it didn’t go deeply there. Perhaps because the story was just another weak, banal love story. That’s what I hate about the movie, especially for winning all these awards on these grounds. Baah.

I disagree with critics who claim that India shouldn’t be shown like this. It should be. For that’s what it is. What are we hidding from? If its itching you, change. Help improve quality of life. I disagree with critics and those who loved this movie. Unless they belong to the category: 1) Foreigners who give it the sympthetic look and take all the joy in writing oh-so-passionately about the poverty and the bad state of our country. 2.) Those who have not seen ANY usual bollywood movie. It had weak dialogues, implausible situations like the on-the-train-british-accent-training for kids from the slums who can’t really read english and dumb tourists at Taj. And more so implausible considering that all these events were instrumental in helping the main hero – Jamal to answer 20 question in an Indian show called ‘Who wants to be a millionaire‘.

Oh yes, coming to the term ‘bollywood’. What are we, Indians, so happy about when SM won those awards? I saw the news channels filling their prime time news to show how we have won. Let me make a few points here:

1.) SM is NOT a bollywood movie. Its by a English crew. Its like saying Blood Diamond was a Afrika-wood (or whatever the movie industry there is called) movie. Get over it. We didn’t win anything. Bollywood movies, if accepted at the oscars, belong to the ‘Foreign movie’ category. So, get the drift? Let those delusions go, Mr. Anil Kapoor. He proudly announced the ‘coming together’ of ‘Bollywood & Hollywood’. Haha. And why the fish, did he even get a filmfare award for his role in the movie?! O_O. These people of bollywood and their supporters should see a few movies from the hollywood scene and see what goes into them: Money (that shouldn’t be a problem considering their bank balances), technology(we have, but don’t know how to use),  time (oh, that we certainly don’t: over mainstream actors need to churn out 10 movies a year :P), creativity ( <> plagarism. :|).

2.) We, Indians, seem to enjoy basking in the glory of a non-bollywood movie which just showed the whole world, us, in our naked-villainy. The portrayal, true to a good extent, is nothing to be happy about, people!! All you yahoos celebrating the success of someone else’s, think what you are celebrating about. Have some shame.

3.) It seem to be taking the slum dwellers for a ride. I saw footage of kids and adults watching the oscars and going up in joy. For what?!? It’s unlikely any of those unlucky group would read this: they aren’t putting you in good light, folks. This is a story of fantastically implausible hope. It’s not hope actually. Its just a delusion. Please, don’t get carried away by the frikking media. The movie crew and producers say that the 2 main kids from the movie will get a substantial amount IF they complete their education. It leaves many questions unanswered. Like when? and how will they complete what education?! Please, sounds disgusting. and that too, if they were so concerned, why just TWO kids?!?

I am ashamed by the oscar’s show this time. By the reaction of the people from all over the world to such a movie. It got 10 nominations, 8 wins, deserved none.

Either way, that’s done. All the awards are given away. But I still vote for DK and Wall-E. Those were just the best movies I’ve seen over a long period of time!

Thats it, bask in your glory, slumHog. I am so tempted to use the dialogue from Tropic Thunder… the one by Les Grossman over the phone….

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