Posted: 18 January 2009 at 6:01pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by sandya_rao7
Originally posted by return_to_hades
Exactly this is my point u have unintentinally presented it in a very nice way. u sld see more indian movies where there is always spring and people are not running away fron natural calamities like volcanoes and blah blah but still the hero of the movie comes out without any injury.
Of course Bollywood does that, and lets not forget Disney movies too. Some people do define cinema and entertainment to be only warm fuzzy characters with warm fuzzy plot lines that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy all over. They believe in unicorns and fairies till they die and bawled when they found Santa does not exist when they turned 21. I admire the beautiful preservation of innocence these people have. However, the world consists mostly of not so innocent people who landed in reality and live in the real world. Cinema will always be diverse that caters to diverse kinds of audiences.
I find it mind boggling how many of us Indians are so quick to reject or embrace things based on our own perceptions without considering the intent of the others. On one hand we have Indians ecstatic that an Indian film is winning so much accliam, on the other hand we have Indians rubbishing the film as derogatory portrayal of Indians. Let me address both claims.
Slumdog Millionaire at heart is a completely Indian movie at heart. It is no different than a Bollywood movie where the hero follows a rags to riches dream. He faces adversities and overcomes them. There is also a fairytale love story. However, what makes it unique is an excellent script and format. It is fascinating to find out how many an ordinary boy raised in the slums finds the answers to million dollar questions through his life experiences. Unlike spending money on designer sets and costumes, glamorizing the storyline - there is a feel of rawness and reality to it. None of the characters are larger than life, they are all cut right out of reality. While the storyline is not abrupted with songs, it ends with a random song and dance sequence. When I watched it in the theater with my friend, she smiled and said "Only in India", everyone sat through the whole song and clapped in the end.
The movie is based on an Indian book by an Indian author. The starcast is Indian, the location is India and most importantly the heart of the storyline is completely Indian. This form of innocent romance and dreaming for the starts is quintessentially Indian. However, the direction and production is completely British. It took filmmakers more familiar with the west and the kind of cinema that appeals to a broader western audience. It took British filmmakers who could take take this Indian story and make a universal film. It took British filmmakers to avoid going over the top and too much into song and dance, costume, locale and sets. The last time someone did this was Gudinder Chadda with Bend It Like Beckham, she lost her way when she tried to shift too much more towards Bollywood. So it is a British film but with an Indian heart. We have to accept that the British made it, not us. However, we should take pride that we inspired the heart of the story.
Now let me clarify that this does not make British filmmakers superior or better. In fact some of our filmmakers are technically on par with anyone in the world. It simply is the fact that western filmmakers are more attune with western audiences. As evident by many posters in this thread. Indians tend to prefer larger than life movies, even our reality has to have shades of unrealism, we do not consider cinema as art or education - it must entertain all our senses - hence our movie makers focus more on costumes, locales, songs and dances, histroinics etc. Simply movies that cater to a different audience. Thats another reason why Slumdog is not Indian, it will cater to some Indian audiences but was not made to be a pure Bollywood entertainer.
This does not happen to Indians only. Many people who enjoyed Wanted are unaware that the director Timur Bekmambetow is an accliamed Russian director of the Nightwatch series. I actually think his Russian movies were much better, they keep in touch with the surrelaism and moral philosophy of Russian Cinema.
Slums are a reality in India. If you have been in Bombay, you have seen Dharavi and the lives of people in Dharavi. Most metropolitan areas have their own slums issues. Unfortunately, most of us like to ignore their existence and deny slums as a part of our countries reality. Not all movies are made to entertain. Sometimes movies are made on the darkers aspects of our reality to touch a nerve, make us aware, of the reality we choose to ignore. Most importantly to sometimes make us aware of the beauty in the darkness we tend to ignore.
I cannot wrap my head around the fact that people think slumdog is derogatory. Never did I feel the movie was portraying my country in a demeaning manner. In fact I felt guilt that I am one of those who likes to believe these slums do not exist. I want people to believe India is all about beautiful costumes and fine jewelry. This movie portrays the slums in such a triumphant manner that I am made a smaller human being.
Only the uneducated and ignorant assume that movies can capture a whole country. Only the foolish will assume that India is a dirty poor country after watching Slumdog. I do not think it is any better than Indians who watch a few western movies and shows and believe that Americans live a glamorous life and all Americans are some sort of sluts. Smarter people know that movies just scratch the surface and seek for more genuinely.