It came, it ran, it conquered. But in all honesty, what was Slumdog Millionaire all about? Yeah, I know that it won a bunch of awards, was adapted from an award winning novel, the award winning director was celebrated to a ridiculous extent overseas and A.R.Rahman brought home the glory that Aamir Khan had only a glimpse of back in 2001. But having heard amazing things about director Danny Boyle and the film, I finished watching it on a Sunday afternoon and was left feeling somewhat empty. Yes, there was suspense. Yes, there was romance. But I felt like I've seen better from the likes of our own Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar.
Now no-one can deny Boyle is a competent filmmaker as his previous works have proved this. Personally, I have not read the book "Q & A" by Vikas Swarup or seen Boyle's other films. So on face value, what I can say is that suspense and brutal honesty are what keeps the audience interested. But that vital cord that is makes the audience feel for our hero, Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), and heroine, Latika (Freida Pinto), is missing. In fact, as Jamal replays events of his life to prove that he's not cheating on India’s version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", I spent more time trying to digest the unfathomable circumstances than understanding his "love" for Latika. Yes, you can step in and say “It’s a movie”, but, when a movie wins that many awards, I feel it should stir something inside when you walk away from it.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this film. As mentioned, the brutal honesty of the story and the backdrop of the slums of Mumbai is both visually engaging and disturbing. The director succeeds in using the suspenseful storytelling to keep the mind thinking on how the events of the past formulate to the present. Where the film falters is the heart line. As the story is intended from Jamal's point of view, one can understand his feelings. As they say, love is blind. But beyond a few lines, the intensity in which Dev excels at conveying, is somewhat lost in Freida's Latika. In fact, the emotional attachment (or rather detachment) you feel towards Jamal's brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) is stronger than that of Latika. The children in the cast however, seem to overtake their older "selves" in flawless emotion and raw appeal that is sadly from their own life experience.
It would ridiculous to write a review without mentioning the Man of the Music, A.R.Rahman. Now, I have been in love with since his initial days of Roja so naturally I go into psycho-dancer mode when I hear his music and this one is no different. The only complaint I have is with "O Saya". Was A.R.Rahman supposed to say anything or was that left to M.I.A, who does it well in the unique style she is now famous for. So as I finish up, I will say that this is definitely a movie worth watching but whether its worth all the hoopla it created, that I will leave to you.