23 February 2009

Jai Ho!

Kudos to AR Rahaman, Gulzar and Resul Pookutty getting Oscars aka Slumdog Millionaire. This is good news not only for Indian cinema and music but for everybody. The eight Oscars for the movie in the 81st Academy Awards is remarkable. A positive lesson from the movie is cooperation across the Globe, cooperation between Rahaman and Gulzar (including the beautiful rendition by Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah and Mahalaxmi Iyer) for the original song, and between Resul Pookutty, Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke for sound mixing. In the midst of a serious financial crisis the movie inspires hope (individuals fighting against all odds) as also the need for cooperation. Besides, the world was also perhaps looking to know something more about Mumbai and India after 26/11 and this came with Slumdog Millionaire.

Last night, the three of us at home (Nandini, my wife and Nerika, our four plus year old daughter) also sat down to see it in the television. The way the story was has been shown is different. I am not a movie buff but one gets the feeling that the movie is meant largely for for an international and not an Indian audience. True, it should not be compared with the Bollywod masala but one gets this feeling even when one compares with Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.

Though the purpose of Mumbai-Agra-Mumbai shift is more to show the Taj Mahal (also see in Wikipedia), yet one keeps wondering about its realm of impossibility. As a true patriot, one feels little upset by the real India versus the compassionate American comparison. The invoking of Amitabh Bachchan and its linking with the human excreta covered young Jamal has a very dramatic effect but definitely another extension of imagination. What triggered me out of my seat is Jamal not knowing who Mahatma Gandhi is? Maybe he just missed Lage Raho Munnabhai.

The most difficult part is that Jamal becomes a millionaire not because of any intelligence or hardwork, but then he did not cheat and did it against all odds. I cannot but agree, "it is written."

Before I sign off, cheers for the best short documentary, Smile Pinki. The icing in my view is the quotation from Rahaman's acceptance: "All my life I had two choices - between love and hate and I chose love." Jai Ho!

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