Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gump in India – Slumdog Millionaire

To win the “Best Picture” in Oscar, you need to show the committee some “pictures” that they are interested in, like the last emperor of an ancient oriental country tortured by some communists, or a cute little boy dumped in a pond of s**t. Really, you don’t need to be Shakespeare, cuz everybody knows what he did, -- they just want to see sth “different”, different enough to give you a little golden statue.

Basically this is just a Bollywood version of Forrest Gump, both in the story itself and the way that they told the story. A piece of sari (the traditional clothes for women of Hinduism and Islam in areas like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc.) waved with Indian scenes, Indian music and Indian actors and cameos didn’t change the Caucasian face under that, esp. when we saw the scene that how an American tourist couple saved Jamal from the angry driver and poured some green notes onto him to show him the “American style”. They didn’t even trust a local leading guy, but cast a BBI (Britain-Born-Indian) teenager soap drama actor instead.

Although the story as a whole was rather pale, there were some nice scenes here and there. My personal favorites are those ones between Jamal and the police inspector. Their conversation reminds me Catch Me If You Can, and some other great police-and-criminal movies. The scenes about Salim could be made better actually, for it was such a complicated role.

Since this was a Bollywood-style movie, you can surely expect some Bollywood-style songs and dances. I have to say that the last “group dance” (which is almost a “must-have” for all Bollywood movies) was just not necessary. But other songs and music throughout the movie were quite nice, and fit for the movie itself. And after the Oscar ceremony, now everybody is familiar with the prelude of the theme song, for it was played so many times that night…

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