Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the spirit of Slumdog Millionaire

This one's been long due:-)...now with the movie nominated in 10 Oscar categories and tipped to win the best picture by a lot of critics, I do have to pitch in with my two cents as well...he..he..he...specially with all the hoopla surrounding it about whether India, as a country , has been represented "appropriately" in the context of the movie...

We watched Slumdog Millionaire about two months back during the phase of its limited release in the US...

I personally loved the movie...I always do love "feel good" movies...those that make you sit at the edge of your seat at the theatre and cheer the protagonist till he/she achieves what he/she set out to achieve or just dreamt of achieving in the first place...movies that can make you choke with emotion but at the same time make you want to stand up and applaud at the end, for they symbolize and represent hope, love and the resilience of the human spirit...

When I got out of the theatre after watching Slumdog Millionaire, let's say this, I felt cheered and had a smile on my face...it was ,after all, a very well made movie...great cinematography, screenplay, dialogues and not to forget A. R. Rehman's melodious, soul stirring music...a movie that represented the spirit of humanity...frankly speaking, at that point of time, that's really all that I cared about...

Then of course, as the movie gained popularity and moved on to become a full fledged commercial release, there were these plethora of debates and blog posts by anyone even remotely associated with India about whether the country has been "appropriately" represented in the context of the movie. There were statements made by Indian celebrities tagging the movie with as creepy terms as " poverty porn"…all because a relatively mid budget movie, with relatively unknown faces in Hollywood/Bollywood in the cast, directed by a British director, based
on a book by an Indian diplomat, had gone on to capture and hold the attention of global audiences...

I had a lot of arguments with friends who were of the opinion that despite being a good movie, Slumdog Millionaire was misrepresenting India to the global audiences...after all India is not all about poverty and slums etc. etc...I differed from them as far as the point of view of “misrepresentation of India” is concerned and frankly speaking, I don't think I am any less patriotic because of that :-)

What really is the "appropriate'” representation of India...I personally don’t have an answer to that...

After all, India is as much about people still living below poverty line, about the thousands of slums like " Dharavi" spread all over the country, about religious riots, about children being forced into beggary, about young minds being drawn into crime for survival, as it is about people like you and me, who have been fortunate enough to be born into educated, middle class / upper middle class families, who are in a way driving the nation's economy and are the face of the progressive India,so to say. It's my belief that the sooner we realize and accept this fact, the more effective the inherent patriotism in each one of us will be in making a difference in the lives of those less privileged…

Who are we to question the creativity of a movie maker who chooses the poverty stricken life of the Indian slums as a backdrop to represent the resilience of the human spirit. Just as Italy and the Italian people are not all about the “mafia” just because a lot of movies have “Italian mafiadom” as a backdrop…so is India not all about poverty and slums just because the context of Slumdog Millionaire has the poor India as it’s backdrop…


Slumdog Millionaire is all about the human spirit…about resilience …about love….about friendship…about fragile human relationships…about being at the right place at the right time and witnessing one's destiny being moulded…

After all, for all fortunate Anil and Mukesh Ambanis of the world, who are born into luxury and given the baton of carrying forth a legacy, there is a Dhirubhai Ambani who had persevered, worked hard, been resilient through failures, loved and hated and been at the right place at the right time many a time, to build an empire, which many of us believe is one of the representations of the spirit of the progressive India….

So as a run up to the Oscars, let’s celebrate the spirit of Slumdog Millionaire and what Alexander Dumas’ fictitious characters of Athos, Porthos and Aramis have been teaching us about the human spirit for decades…

7 comments:

SBora said...

well said....

my fingers and toes are crossed for AR rahman. he better win - its about time he gets the recognition he deserves.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Thanks Rhimjhim ba....

My fingers and toes are crossed as well for the maestro!!

Anonymous said...

Very well put Priyanka! I liked the movie a lot... Keeping my fingers crossed for this movie!
-Rashmi

SBora said...

hey thanks for the comment on my blog...do i see you on the 28th?

SBora said...

good seeing you on saturday..sorry couldnt talk much. thanks for the wishes...he is very excited!

Amateur Blogger said...

Nice post. It provoked me to write, so thanks :)

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Thanks dude !