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If there is one thing I haven’t understood, it is the adulation Paa has received. Now you know I haven’t exactly loved the movie, so it is all the more bewildering to hear reactions from people and news such as this :
“Balki wishes to put in three deleted scenes of the film back on to it. And I think we shall be talking to the channels and media about it. One of the refrains that floated by was that they had wished there was more of Auro in the film. Guess Balki heard that one and now wishes to execute it,” Amitabh posted on his blog.
More of Auro ? Really ? So you didn’t wish he’d die sooner ? What on earth is wrong with you !
I wasn’t sure after watching Paa if it was the bad movie that put me off or my lack of love for the Bachchans. Since then, I have been reassured that it was — in fact — the bad movie bit. This was after a friend who is a self-confessed Bachchan fangirl saw the movie and almost hated it. Now it could be that my review was so scathing that it spoilt it for her, but let’s not get into complex psychological analyses.
I find uncanny resemblances between how I feel about Paa and how I felt about Slumdog Millionaire exactly a year ago. Only then, I was on the other side of the argument. I had loved the movie, and some critics and intellectuals were bashing it for being a banal plot, requiring an unreasonable suspension of disbelief — most didn’t take the Oscar wins too well either.
I had suggested then that the detractors must suck it up and accept it. Ergo, I have to humbly do so myself now.
I’ll still maintain that I love Slumdog Millionaire for being a an engaging movie in a creative format. Engaging writing is what is missing in Paa and the least of all its flaws. So I think I am being consistent and not a hypocrite.
The Congress has bought the rights to the Oscar winning song from Slumdog Millionaire, ‘Jai Ho’.
Seeing new promise in the runaway success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Congress has acquired the exclusive rights of the film’s number, ‘Jai Ho’ for the summer campaign. According to sources, the party has secured the rights of both the lyrics and tune of the hit number for use in its campaign for the general election.
@Congress : Just to give you some heads up. The middle portion of Jai Ho which no one understands, that is not Italian. It is Spanish. So much for your dreams of impressing the party high command.
Meanwhile, BJP is working on a Haar Ho jingle. I kid you not.
Apparently, this general election is going to be judged by the Indian Idol judges.
No, the title is not the cliched Jai Ho of every second article. Everyone is using the first Jai Ho from the track, I am using the 6th one.
Congrats to Resul Pookutty and A.R. Rahman for bringing 3 Oscars back home. Well deserved indeed.
Also congrats the to the Slumdog Millionaire team for pulling off an almost improbable win (this would make sense to people who followed the movie since last October).
I am not entering into another debate over whether it deserved the award, I leave that to people who prefer to overlook the rules of the game or oversimplify the Academy voters and the Western filmmakers.
For people who believe India has better movies than Oscar winners, all I can say is no matter how fast he runs, Usain Bolt cannot really be called the fastest runner between wickets.
For people who think Slumdog changes nothing for us :
Friend (on a ski lift) : (listening to the ipod)
Stranger : So what music are you listening to ?
Friend : Well, Indian music.
Stranger : Oh cool. I just got the music of Slumdog !
This was before the Oscars.
And for people who think this isn’t Rahman’s best work, here is a small story :
Random person from the West : The music of Slumdog is like .. freakin’ awesome !!
Random person from North India : The goras are idiots. The music of Slumdog is utter rubbish. Those saala goras haven’t heard his Hindi albums.
Random person from a city in South Indian city : The goras and northies are both idiots. The music of Slumdog and his Hindi albums are utter rubbish. They haven’t heard his Tamil albums.
Meanwhile, a fly in the loo of Panchathan studio : Did you just hear that dude sing ? That has got to be his best tune ever !
Lastly, my deepest condolences to the people unhappy with the Oscar results. I do understand how much you disliked some of the movies and results, but all I can say is you’ve got to live with it, and life doesn’t end here.
Some trivia to end. Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight are examples of movies made for the Oscars. Slumdog Millionaire barely escaped going straight to DVD and was never even sure of getting a US release.
A.R. Rahman has been shortlisted previously by the Academy for songs of Rang De Basanti and Water in the Best Original Song category. He just did not make it to the final list of nominees.
Edit : No matter how great A.R. Rahman is, he simply shouldn’t be singing live !
Check out some awesome metaphors used recently :
Mayawati is the ‘new-age Shahjahan’, says BJP.
Young Congress men are fish in aquarium: Modi
Cong calls Modi a piranha.
I sincerely request you to tone down the intellect and dumb down the metaphors. After all, we are the people who believe that Slumdog’s success was your achievement and Ram Mandir is the most important issue.
While the elitist “Oscar movie” watching people have been shamelessly applauding Slumdog Millionaire, the Hindu Janajagruty Samiti (HJS) has meditated deeply on the movie to discover the following objections :
All characters in this film are Muslims except a few like, begger boy Arvind, Game show host Prem Kumar and Jamal’s girlfriend Latika.
And to add to their woes, a Muslim wins 20 million ruppes and also gets Latika !! Damn you Danny Boyle !
Hindu boy Arvind was made blind and begger. Again why not Salim, Shaik, Omar?
Well I hear from Danny Boyle that originally Jamal was supposed to be blinded but then he wasn’t able see half the answers as they happened in his life.
Now the gem :
As per the news, Muslim boys are paid to lure Hindu Girls. In this film Jamal, a Muslim boy is shown very kind to Hindu girl. This is part of international conspiracy against Hindu culture.
Even I cannot counter that.
But as a citizen of a democratic country, I will not say anything against the HJS. Instead, keeping in line with the recent forms of protest, I propose we start The Pink Dogs Campaign to send them our spare “pink dogs”.
That film ‘critic’ Taran Adarsh is not the wisest man to inhabit this earth is well known (yeah the same guy who gave Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna 4 1/2 stars).
Taran’s unabashed love for Shahrukh Khan/Karan Johar movies (which I can only hope hasn’t crossed the platonic lines) has been constant fodder for the intellectual audiences and reviewers at Passion For Cinema. He has been the object of such ridicule that a few days prior to the release of the latest Shahrukh Khan starrer Rab Na Bana Di Jodi, a fake review of the movie by him surfaced on the internet, filled with ‘Taran Adarsh cliches’.
I always thought people were at times too harsh on him for being a Bollywood fanboy. It was fine that he did not have an exposure to non-Bollywood or what some people call good cinema, but he betters himself while reviewing Slumdog Millionaire :
and how towards the end they meet again, they unite and this guy, he also goes on to win the jackpot.
Okay I can live with this, Slumdog Millionaire wasn’t a suspense thriller anyway. But this :
Films like these don’t really get made every day with international names like David Boyle, which are still desi at heart. Well I think David and his writer Simon Beaufoy are basically big Bollywood fans … (note the fanboyish expression here) ….
I am envious that he is close enough to the director to refer to him on a first name basis, but after all the hype and the countless articles about the movie, the least I would expect him to know is that the director is Danny Boyle.
P.S. : More Slumdog news, the Oscar ceremony is tipped to open with a live performance of Jai Ho by A.R. Rahman and Sukhwinder Singh.
This is the first guest post on this blog and I thank Veda for graciously agreeing to write this piece. Veda is a features correspondent with Pune Mirror. I have wanted to have a detailed piece on Slumdog Millionaire for quite some time and this article took shape during our analysis of the movie. Leaving further details aside, here it is :
SM oscar nomination toll: 10. Yay!
The news channels had to replace segments with an impromptu (and badly edited) ‘Oscar Fever’ that featured, among other bytes, the cast doing a bit of bhangra on red carpet at the Mumbai premiere. The premiere happened to be immediately after the nominations were declared.
Now that the movie has officially released in India, I hope whatever panel discussions that follow will include people who have actually seen it. I also hope that the phrase Jai Ho doesn’t appear everywhere I look – advertisments, newspaper headlines, political slogans; I’m not going to be overly optimistic about that last hope. The first one though, might just come true. Mainly because you can’t really keep critisizing a movie that’s been nominated for 10 academy awards. I think all of a sudden no one will care that there’s a ‘squalid underbelly’ being depicted, and start congratulating the stars who will now become the true ambassadors of the country.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the movie has cracked a formula that no one knew existed.
The story is complete fantasy, but the setting is real. The story is also not really of Indian origin – it’s more like a racy bestseller on the New York Times list, which when turned into a movie is great fun to watch. But again, the setting of the story is Indian – the city, the episodes in Jamal’s life. I found that it felt like watching a Hollywood movie in which the aesthetics of the movie would appeal to Westerners more than a typical Indian. For example, the easy, almost nonchalent, depiction of the red light area when the mid Jamal and Salim rescue Latika. An Indian film maker would have highlighted that in some way, through music, different colour tones, surreal sets, anything. That’s why I don’t think any Bollywood director or FTII national award winner could have made something like this. It could have been made by someone of Indian origin who’s studied film making abroad.
Rahman’s music manages to do what the film does – bringing Western aesthetic in Indian context. I’m talking about the background score, not the songs.I still haven’t figured out the random Baila thingy in the middle of Jai ho! and O saaya, is too Rahman to categorise.
The movie does seem to have everything going right for it. Except the acting, but that doesn’t seem to matter because of the novelty factor that India brings in, with the economy that’s supposed to save the west, steal their jobs, contribute to their pop songs, etc. After all, India has been the flavour of the month for several years now. And the West is dying to know more about India in a manner in which they can relate to. Bend it Like Beckham was also a Globe nominee for best movie, and that wasn’t half as well made, and the more desi Namesake didn’t figure anywhere.
So, with 10 nominations, and a possible of 9 wins, I think this movie has more than just a chance. I’m counting on at least one statue for Rahman.
P.S. : Previous posts on Slumdog Millionaire here.
A WT# question comes in another one of those endless debates about poverty and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
Sagarika Ghose to the panelists in Face The Nation : But would the film have been such a success had it not been set in a slum and say, in a university?
Well, the title wouldn’t have made any sense firstly.
The debate has other gems by an unknown sociologist Sherry Sabharwal : My request to Danny Doyle is next time concentrate on something like a university.
So I propose we draft a list of must-have-scenes for all Western directors aspiring to make a movie in India.
Did I mention that all the panelists haven’t seen the movie yet ?
Edit : Thanks to Anorak for pointing out the missing URL.
A.R. Rahman wins the Golden Globe for Best Musical Score in a Movie (for the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, of course), the first by an Indian : Video
As much as I am proud and ecstatic, this is such a big moment as a Rahman fan that I have no words to express myself; so I would have to refer to a profound message by an intellectual fan on a Rediff Board to sum up the feelings of all Indians :
by Chandar on Jan 12, 2009 08:50 AM
Great achievement as an Indian/Tamilian
So much for the Tamil Bashing few North Indians .. u r all silenced…
Now if only we had more such real Indians.
Update : Slumdog has a clean sweep. Best Movie/Director/Screenplay/Score. If you still haven’t heard of the movie, review here.
Musically, this was a typical year for Bollywood, a few good releases by A.R.Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and some good newcomers.
Best Film Album (OST)
This was a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Amit Trivedi for the music of Aamir. Let me defend now.
Jodha Akbar was complex, grand and multi-layered, Slumdog Millionaire was something different from Rahman, Rock On was one of the best albums I heard in quite some time (and if not for Aamir would have been an easy choice), Welcome to Sajjanpur was really melodious but very situational at times and Khuda Ke Liye was a great album overall.
About Aamir, it was earthy, it was simple, it was melodious. Heck, at some points it was so raw that it would make an A.R. Rahman cringe at the sound ! But it was very good music, it was different, it was experimental. I still listen to the songs of Aamir almost daily. The sufi number Ha Raham, the folk and earthy Chakkar Ghumyo, the fast Phas Gaya, the experimental Haara and of course the philosophical Ek Lau, which assumed great significance in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks (lyrics and translation here).
You might also want to listen to this song composed by Amit Trivedi for the Mumbai victims.
Best Non-Film Album
This was me was a contest just between Sonu Nigam’s Classically Mild and Rabbi Shergill’s Avengi Ja Nahin, and it was easy to choose Rabbi (review here). His first album was undoubtedly more catchy but Avengi Ja Nahin was deeper. Every song in this album deserves a proper listen and understanding !
Best Song : Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) (review here).
I do not think anyone would dispute this. This song is one of the reasons why music can be powerful yet subtle.
Best Singing Male : Sonu Nigam in Soona Soona (song here).
Sonu Nigam came back with some brilliant singing in a classical album this year and still managed to hold fort as one of the best singers we have.
Best Singing Female :
I really liked Dominique in Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On but I think I will go with Madhushree in Ek Meetha Marz from Welcome to Sajjanpur. I haven’t heard a female playback voice sweeter than hers and you just have to listen to the way she sings this song (that too just one stanza).