A still from the film Slumdog Millionaire

A still from the film Slumdog Millionaire

The movie slumdog millionaire has attracted a huge controversy even as its sound director A. R. Rahman won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Soundtrack” and both Rahman and sound director Rasool Pookutty are waiting for the results of their Oscar nominations.

The IIPM has used stinging criticism of the movie for its advertisement campaign in national newspapers. Malayalam movie director Priyadarshan has said that the Bollywood had produced better movies of estranged children. However, many Westerners are in all praise for the movie. This, the critics say, is because they look down upon India.

However, it seems that Indians are over-reacting about the portrayal of poverty. Satyajit Ray and other Indian directors have portrayed poverty. Squalor is a reality in many streets of India not to speak of slums. If somebody realistically portrays the life of poor blacks in the United States, should the Americans be protesting?

The overall score of the film, however, is just above average. It is a fast-paced film with quick cuts for the Western audience. The pace is so fast that you may even find it difficult to follow the storyline. However, it was a brilliant idea to tell the story in a flashback against the background of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contest despite hiccups from the non-linear narrative. By and large, it is rather a docu-drama than a fiction film. However, a few sequences are unrealistic and would defy logic. For example, it is so unlikely that the host of the television show would turnover Jamal to police and the police would begin by torturing a person who had become famous. The host would not fail to foresee the damage that could arise if someone alleges that it was done to save the prize money.

It would also have been more realistic if the protagonist had rushed for Amitabh Bachan’s autograph after having a quick wash after his jump into the toilet pit. Of course, it can be argued that he managed to cut through the crowd because he smelled so badly.

The hero is a winner against all odds. That makes India a place of opportunity and emerging prosperity for him while the film itself show how hollow the perception is. The lot of other slumdogs have hardly improved through high rise buildings have taken the place of their old slum. It reminds one of BJP’s Shining India Campaign. Symbolically, the film rebuts Shining India.

Coming to sound recording, it hardly stands out. Yes, that is its quality– non-intrusiveness. Incidentally, Rasool belongs to Kerala though he is based in Mumbai. And A. R. Rahman has done better soundtracks for Bollywood films.

Correction: The spelling used officially for Pookutty’s first name is Resul.

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