Film buffs in Kozhikode warming up to Slumdog Millionaire

Audience choice: A still from Slumdog Millionaire.

Audience choice: A still from Slumdog Millionaire.  

Slumdog Millionaire, very much the flavour of the season following its triumph at the Golden Globe Awards and the 10 nominations it fetched at the Oscars, opened in Kozhikode to an enthusiastic response on Friday. It is the Hindi-dubbed version of the film, titled Slumdog Crorepati, that is being screened.

“We had the original English soundtrack too, but we decided to show the Hindi version of the film on popular demand,” says A.R. Vinod, proprietor, Crown Theatre. “We had a decent opening, and the collections were even better on the second day. Balcony tickets are sold out in advance.” British director Danny Boyle’s new film has not got a terrific opening, but is expected to do better as the week wears on, according to Vinod. “The film has not opened the way Ghajani did, and this is mainly because the pirated DVDs have already hit the market.”

The film was released abroad last November, so there was lot of time for pirated DVDs to be circulated in India. Slumdog Millionaire has been better received in the West, both by the critics and the masses. Not surprising really, for the film would be a refreshingly different experience for the Western viewer, while for an Indian, it is not much too different from the kind of Bollywood films they have seen before.

Having said that, few Indian films could compete with Slumdog Millionaire technically; it is brilliantly cinematographed by Anthony Dod Mantle, well edited by Chris Dickens and has exceptional sound effects (one of those responsible for it is Resul Pookutty, the first Malayali to be nominated for an Oscar).

And yes, A.R. Rahman’s music will stay with you, for days. The song shown during the closing title cards, ‘Jai Ho’, should be a front-runner for the best song at the Oscars next month; it is beautifully choreographed by Longinus Fernandes and its energy typifies that of the film and the city, Mumbai, where the film is set in. ‘Slumdog…’ is the rags-to-riches – quite literally – story of Jamal Malik, a ‘chaiwala’ from the slums, winning the top prize at the ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ game show on television and his romance with Latika, also an orphan from the slums. The real slum children come out as the real stars for the amazing way they have acted; casting director Loveleen Tandon, who has also assisted Boyle in directing, can take a bow.

P.K. Ajith Kumar

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