Slumdog Millionaire is that rare combination of a strong plot and skilful storytelling that marries grit and glamour seamlessly.
You would think that a firang‘s depiction of India would be all ‘exotic desh’…swollen-bellied babies starving outside the Taj Mahal and begging children. The movie does have hunger, poverty, slums, streetkids and beggars. Even the Taj Mahal. But of course, can you realistically expect a foreigner to be able to resist showing that in a movie about India?
And yet, Danny Boyle manages to veer away from cliched expressions and brings us the story of the great Indian dream. Money, love, fame, glamour all after struggle, grit, disappointment and insurmountable hurdles. What’s all this hoo-halla about glamourising poverty? Haven’t you heard of rags-to-riches tales?
I remember the hysteria that gripped the nation surrounding the first winner of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Why was the show so popular? I doubt anyone going through the Indian education system could really, truly care about learning and knowing more. The quest of knowledge was certainly not what kept people glued to the show. Why then did people dance on the streets, why was there so much excitement surrounding the jackpot success of a guy nobody knew? Because he was one of them. Just an anonymous one of the millions. He represented a dream that was suddenly a possibility. What one of them them could do, the rest could very well aspire to.
What’s a boy from the teeming millions doing shaking hands with the most famous man in the country? That’s real life meeting larger-than-life. Look me in the eye and tell me that that doesn’t touch you.