In My Own Words - Ron Centeno

a collection of thoughts and my own words

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Slumdog - Oscar Favorite (Repost)

Written by Ron Centeno

When we talk about great movies, we oftentimes refer to those that are hugely budgeted with elaborate sets, high-tech production, and ridiculously high-paid Hollywood actors. In the movie Slumdog Millionaire, this is not the case.

The movie was filmed in India with barely known Bollywood actors in the lead. One example is Dev Patel who played the lead role, Jamal Malik. Patel earned the part out of his unassuming looks. His cinematic features pale in comparison to the generally hunky and hero-like Bollywood stars. Nevertheless, Patel is a cast member of a British television ensemble drama Skin prior to this movie. The other is Freida Pinto who played the role of Latika, Jamal’s love interest. Pinto had not starred in a feature film before. She is a commercial model by profession.

One can only guess that while the movie’s projected cost was $15 million, an award-winning movie with a small budget such as this defies the conventional wisdom in the movie industry. To its credit, the film pulled down four coveted 2009 Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Director – Motion Picture – Danny Boyle; Best Screenplay – Simon Beaufoy; and Best Original Score – A. R. Rahman.

Slumdog Millionaire is based on a novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup and is put into a script by Simon Beaufoy. The backdrop used for the scenes is nothing but redolently panoramic landscape that captures the real-thing-slum in the heart of Mumbai. The filthiness inside this shanty town is enough to turn the viewers’ stomach upside down. The grossness surrounding the squatter commune creates an impression of a third-world India prior to country’s ascent to one of the world’s fastest rising economies next to China.

The movie’s plot is typical to countries where minorities, in this case the Muslims in a predominantly Hindus, are treated heavy-handedly. Children of Islamic descent who hail from the shanties bear the brunt of India’s discriminating authorities.
Jamal Malik, a former street child from Mumbai had the displeasure of being a contestant in Kaun Banega Crorepati, an Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Armed without education, he stunned the show’s million avid viewers by making it to the final question worth twenty million ruppies. As such, Prem Kumar, the host of the show suspected Jamal of cheating which resulted in a police interrogation. Under custody, Jamal detailed an explanation of how he knew the answers that walked us through to the chronological events of his sorry-life in the slum areas.

The ensuing scenes from beginning to end of the movie were masterfully directed by Danny Boyle. The film is simply riveting which hoisted Simon Beaufoy to earn the coveted award in scriptwriting. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film four stars, stating that it is, “a breathless, exciting story, heartbreaking and exhilarating”. Todd McCarthy of Variety, praises the script as “intricate and cleverly structured”. Finally, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times describes the film as a “Hollywood-style romantic melodrama that delivers major studio satisfactions in an ultra-modern way”.

Indeed, Slumdog Millionaire is a movie that might bring the executives of the giant film outfits into the drawing board to focus more on the script rather than the big budget to earn critical acclaim.

6 Your Thoughts/Comments Here::

Dina said...

Yes 3M, I watched the movie,loved it. My Oscar bet for best picture.

ck_leick said...

i will try to download this movie...

watson said...

Based on your post, this movie does sound interesting. I hope I can be able to watch this as well.

emz said...

I've seen the movie already and it was indeed great!! The whole game was like the story of his life. That scene where he had to see the most famous celebrity in India was grossssssss!! LoL! Can anyone ever do that?? hahahaha!! anyway great post Ron! as always :).

Fancy Schmancy said...

I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD.

r-yo said...

I was amazed with the fine storytelling that Slumdog did. Ang galing! Indeed, a great film does not need big names. I hope it bags Best Film in the Oscars.

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