This one is going to sweep the Oscars. Undoubtedly! Technically brilliant, fast-paced, action-packed, never a dull moment and a fantastic soundtrack! And those kids! Where did they find them? Their performances were beyond startling! They can act the expensive pants off India's best and brightest any day!
And yet, I came out of the movie shaking with anger. I'm sorry, and I know many of you will not agree with me, but this movie definitely shows India in a poor light (yes, use the word both ways). This movie was made for the Western audiences and Western audiences only. They will lap up something like this...the crowds, the cheats, the poverty, the dirt, flies, shit, sewers, slums, torture, cruelty...oh, I could go on! The movie doesn't portray anything about our country in a positive manner. NOTHING! Even the shot of the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful and romantic architectural structures in the world, is not spared. The angle of the shot shows a half-dried and stinky, dirty Yamuna struggling by. WTF?!?
Reality. That is what this movie touts. Hmph! And I'm not going to raise a trivial point like 'KBC not being live' and nitpick. I do believe in poetic licence and creative stretch-of-the-imagination. But what makes me sad is that this is the only kind of 'reality' that the West will believe of us. Why is it that a 'Mother India', a 'Salaam Bombay', now a 'Slumdog Millionaire', (and yes, I'll admit it even though it's one of my fave movies by my most favouritest director in the world), a 'Pather Panchali' win rave reviews abroad. Why did three out of the above mentioned four, get a nod at the Oscars? What was so unworthy of 'Taare Zameen Par'? Didn't that portray a slice of reality too? For that matter, I found 'Fashion' to be utterly believable and realistic as well.
Once it was the perception of royally decked elephants, dancing girls with flowers in their hair and knowledgeable of all the 64 arts of the Kamasutra and half-naked fakirs with mystical, mythical powers that the West believed to be our reality. Stereotypical! And now, its dirt, dust and the dirty that they believe to be uniquely ours. Outrageously stereotypical!
And so pathetic.