Slumdog Context

I just watched Slumdog Millionaire and enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s an entertaining yarn, and really should be seen only from that prism. It rocks in the way a good pulp bestseller rocks, with a propulsive storyline that keeps you hooked, and requires a suspension of disbelief. To judge it by the standards of high art, and declare it a failure on grounds of plausibility or authenticity, is, in my book, a category error. It’s an airport paperback, not a Booker nominee.

Also, I’m a fan of AR Rahman, and to see him get such attention is wonderful. I hope he wins at least one Oscar, and foreign listeners seek out his Indian work because of that.

Now, here’s a question: If this film was made by a local director and not by a Western biggie, would our reaction to the film have been the same? Would we have so readily forgiven the clichés and other lapses of this film? Or would we have said, Saala, b*st*rd’s making a movie for the foreign audience. Sellout. Would we have been jealous of its achievement, or less forgiving of its flaws? Would we have liked the film more or less if Sunil Tandon of Juhu had directed this film instead of Danny Boyle of Lancashire?

That’s a question, not an accusation. I think I would have viewed the film differently if that were so—and I’m slightly perturbed by that.