Slumdog Millionaire

A few days back I watched the most talked about film in recent times Slumdog Millionaire. It is an awesome film, not only because of the fantastic cinematic technicalities and Rahman's sweeping tunes but due to its inherent simplicity. Inspite of being made by a foreigner, it is totally an Indian movie which tells the rags to riches story against a backdrop of struggles in Indian slums, love lost regained etc. Hundreds of films have been made in Bollywood on this theme but Slumdog simply stands out due to its masterpiece execution and innovative storytelling.

Some of my friends were however more cynical. They felt that the movie really maligned India since it only projected the dark underbelly of Mumbai and not the shining part of it. Not everything is bad in Mumbai they reason. My only answer to them is to look out of their train windows when they travel to work. You can literally see both sides of the railway tracks filled with these slums and the scene of answering nature's call in the most unhygenic conditions is extremely common.

I think its time we stopped living in denial. Agreed that India has made rapid strides in the last decade but to think that all its problems are gone is height of foolishness. In fact most of India still are starving from clean drinking water and sanitation facilitites. So much so for India shining.
The problem with Indian middle class (I am taking some liberty here to paint everyone with the same brush) is that they want to live in the small cocoon they have built. They can afford a car,  have a nice dinner as a plush restaurant, go dancing to a nightclub and come home and sleep with the AC on. They want to believe that life has improved for everyone. 

One of the best things in the movie is the way how the Indian energy has been portrayed. Indian people are fascinating in the sense that every day they wake up and muster the enthusiasm to work hard to make their lives a tiny tiny bit better. It is this constant push towards betterment that drives them on. And the director has done a fantastic job to capture it. I just happened to come back from a meeting with a Dutch delegation from Amsterdam and they wanted to interact with the students at ISB. During the interaction, one of them asked an ISB International student from Spain as to what has been his best learning experience at ISB. He said competitiveness and ability to strain yourself and test your limits. He said openly that Europeans in general have become more laid back and it is high time to sit up and take notice at the changing world order. It is important more so today to make yourself saleable and more lucrative for the global labour market. Point right on I felt and the delegation seemed to agree too.

Slumdog Millionaire in spirit is a movie about all Indians. Their aspirations, their struggle, their persistence and the never-say-die attitude. "Jai Ho"......

Here is to wishing Rahman a best of luck for the Oscars for the two songs below