I have been forced to publish this article of mine, thanks to the extraordinary ‘hype and hoopla’ created by Danny Boyle’s latest offering about a ‘Rags-To-Riches’ story, set in the background of the Mumbai’s slum dwellers.
I happened to see the movie yesterday and to be very frank, couldn’t garner many positives from the script, which in itself, I believe, is mutilated but not exaggerated.
To begin with, I must furnish a brief synopsis of what I felt about ‘SM’. An engrossing tale of a young guy from the slums who fights gangsters, nepotism and his own existence to win crores and subsequently his love, is appreciated. But I need to confess that the very treatment of the subject matter supercedes the technical aspects of the film. The flaws are extremely explicit. The greatest examples are the scenes where children in the slums suddenly switch to ‘English’ language and some people are made to speak the language, just for the sake of it. As someone who admires good cinematic values, this one reveals a lot less. I could feel that ‘American’ touch in it, which is, quite inevitable. But exploiting the grey areas, zooming them to maximum effect and portraying a nation’s values in negative shades, is something which is not acceptable.
Something which I just couldn’t digest was this particular scene where a young Jamal is beaten up by the locals after a tourist’s car was looted. The young boy says, “This is India for you.” And the woman reciprocates, saying “This is true America for you”. And then his companion pulls out his wallet and throws away some dollars to the boy. I would, rather, ask all my readers to comment on this. What did that imply? What was Mr. Danny trying to impart? I am just lost. I understand that there is a strong message conveyed in this. But was the context right? Even the scene where a younger Jamal rushes to Amitabh Bachchan for an autograph, with excreta all over him, was quite bewildering. I am still wondering about all this, especially when the entire world is going ‘gaga‘ over this movie and it is winning every possible award that it comes across.
As far as the casting and performances are concerned, I sincerely believe that some of our finest talents have been wasted. Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla were hardly there. I had no clue what Raj Zutshi and Mahesh Manjrekar were doing in this flick. Anil Kapoor as the mysterious and egoistic host tried his best to be in his usual self, but had to deal with a script which was custom made. And the newcomers were decent. As far as ARR is concerned, Rahman’s genius is not new to Indians and predictably, the soundtrack and background score is outstanding. But I felt that he could have given this one a miss, especially after considering the script and editing. And I am sure that he doesn’t need a ‘Golden Globe’ or an ‘Oscar’ to prove that he is one of the best. Well, if it calls for something like ‘Global Recognition’, it could have better come through a more substantial and unbiased script. Moreover, for America, ARR’s music is new and innovative. For us, he is a household name. I guess that says it all.
I would love to see a movie winning plethora of awards, not just for entertainment, but also for a superlative script and a strong, yet appealing, social message,that’s endearing to one and all.
To sum it up, ‘SM’ could have been much better. For me, it doesn’t live up to the expectations. It’s a good attempt, but the manner in which the storyline and the charactors evolve, lacked authenticity.
Most of them are expecting that ‘SM’ will go all the way to win the ‘Academy Award’. If it doesn’t, I would be least disappointed.
To start off, let me confess that I am a hardcore movie buff (that’s one of my known and disclosed passion) and the technical aspects of the film making business has always fascinated me. Every time I see a movie or whenever I ecstatic about a supreme cinematic experience, do I realize that it is, arguably, one of the most powerful medium of entertainment and communication all over the world. And pretty evidently, it has become an indispensable part of our lives.
Over the years, I have watched plethora of movies and possess a decent collection of some of the classics that I have enjoyed immensely. I am fortunate to have watched some absolute gems while some are not exactly convincing, to say the least. But I have always been a very positive individual and hence, would like to learn the good things from whatever I see and discard the negatives, if any.
One thing that I am convinced about is, that movies always depict our very own lives, directly or indirectly. They are a replica of our experiences in daily lives, with a pinch of exaggeration in it. But film making is also a human activity and it is a known fact that we as individuals, have a tendency to add more spice and salt to our depictions and performances, on stage or off stage. So, I guess, it is very natural that human nature reflects in ‘Cinema’ as well. But I am sure we all would agree that movies are inspired by human lives, great personalities (not always) and their subtle mannerisms. That’s why ‘Cinema’ exudes confidence and makes it so endearing, yet so powerful.
Great film makers, Legendary Directors, Entrepreneurs(famously known as producers) and Larger-than-Life actors. They all exist and survive due to the unique nature of human relationships and the complexities involved in our emotions. And that’s what I admire in ‘Cinema’. Personally, I like to learn something from a film and try to evolve as a person. I am not ignoring the commercial part of it or the entertainment part of it. How can I when I am so aware that ‘Cinema’ cannot do what it does without the Media, The ‘Glamour & Glitz’ that surrounds the ‘Tinsel Town’. And this aspect of it is universal. But inspite of all the commercial hoopla around, I still would prefer ‘Cinema’ as a motivating tool, as it is much more than all that. If 2 individuals become Superstars, there are 200 people behind them who make it happen. So I guess, it all boils down to ‘Hard Work’ , ‘Dedication’ and ‘Conviction’. It’s just that we get overawed by our celebrities, and prefer to ignore the dark and bitter realities, that unfold behind the screen.
I would sum it up by reinstating the fact that ‘Cinema’ is a reflection of Human Lives and not vice versa. We need to be intelligent enough to recognize this and appreciate quality stuff, we would end up admiring ‘Human Creed’ by doing so.
And I believe that I have tried my best, to adequately convey this message to all my readers :).