Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - Tom & Me think alike :)

I had been searching google blogs for something related to ‘cant stop crying’ and came across a beautiful interview with Tom Alter, Pascal Seiger and Suresh (I had only heard of Tom Alter) at a certain Adel Anwar’s site….

Only a part of the interview has been published in the site.. which you can read by clicking HERE
Tom Alter spoke that which I hadn’t heard from anyone associated with the Indian cinema.
He told ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was a mediocre movie… and at another place, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was a bad movie.

You would like to read what I had written bout this GR8 movie even before it had won the Oscar…. Read it by clicking on The Tamasha Of Slumdog Millionaire

And just in case you haven’t clicked on the link…. I don’t think you shud be reading any more of this post.. coz u neway wont understand wat I feel in this regards… and so u wont even understand the purpose of this post.

A part from that post is

Which scenes strike as the most ‘funny’? (if, you can call it that!!) we’d get many answers to this question… one of the answers wud be the scene..where a firang couple is fooled by showing them the ‘bigest dhobi ghaat’ in India…….. how many hajmola bottles wud be needed to digest it?
And bout the scene where the young Jamaal takes another firang couple round the Taj Mahal and tells them all non-sense bout this beautiful monument (amazing how the ‘forces’ allowed this movie to be shown in the theatres….. without an ‘additional’ “Taj Mahal was actually a temple which was demolished and destroyed and etc etc etc by the Muslim invaders whose progeny is today destroying India” scene added to it!!! *blah*)… ….. u’d need hajmola, pudin hara.. jaljeera and eesab ghol… all of them.. to digest it.

And I just went to check for any comments under this post in another blog (which I have deserted)… all the 11 comments by clicking HERE
only 2, Ankit and Chhavi seem to agree that Slumdog wasnt all that gr8 ... the others are all praises bout the movie.

Welllll… and here is wat Tom Alter told,

We’ve heard that you’ve recently made some interesting comments on Slumdog Millionaire. Can you share it with us?

I dont want to get passionate. I think Slumdog Millionaire as a film is exploitive, clever, predictable and mediocre. How in the world it won eight oscars, I dont have a clue. I really dont have a clue. I’m stunned by it. What worries me is not that it won eight oscars but in the great city of Bombay, very few of the big directors and producers have had the guts to stand up and say that its not a good film. Whether its Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Karan Johar - they’ve all said that this was a great moment in India cinema. Its not even ‘indian cinema’, so how can it be a great moment? Its not Indian film. Somebody said to me, a journalist - ‘oh India should be very proud, India has won eight oscars’. India has not won eight oscars, Indians have won eight oscars, not India! Its not our film. But that to me, is not the issue. The issue is what I’ve said - its a mediocre film. And the other thing that gets me very upset, (please take this in the right light) the scene where the car is stripped of its four wheels and everything in front of the Taj Mahal. Now a car bought in by two foreign tourists is stripped of its four wheels and sound system in broad daylight in front of the Taj?? What are we talking about? Then that little kid as he’s getting bashed up, says ‘you wanted to see India? This is real India’. Now if that film was made by Karan Johar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, Subash Ghai, the Shiv Sena would have gone into their house the next morning and burnt it down because you’re blaspheming India. Nobody has said a damn thing because it was made by an angrez. Now they’re wrong to say anything, but where do we stand? Let’s take a stand and say what is quality and what is not quality? All of us can name ten films - Hindi films, Malayalam films, French films, we’ve seen in the last one year that are a hundred times better Slumdog.
I’m happy for the individuals who won the Oscars. I spoke to Gulzar today - Gulzar is a very dear friend of mine. Maine kaha, “Gulzar bhai mubarak ho”. “Tom bhai, mai kya kahoon aur kya na kahoon? Bas mujhe milgaya”. Maine kahan, “Likte waqt aapne ye kabhi socha ki Oscar milega?” He said - “Oscar kya, maine kabhi award ke bare mein nahi socha. Ab dekhiye kya mila.”
When we have to, in all walks of life, whether its tonight’s performance or Slumdog Millionaire or whatever you’re designing, lets stand up and if something is bad, lets say its bad. If something is good, lets say its good. And, Slumdog is a bad film!
I’m sorry, even if had not won a single award, I would’ve said the same thing. Its a bad film. I see nothing outstanding except for the performance of the young kids and the young kids were fantastic. And that Dev Patel was very good. The young guy from Film Institute, my institute, has won an award for sound mixing. But has any paper said that two other people also won the award with him? No. Har akhbar mein yahi hai ki hindustani ko oscar award mila. Bhai do aur angrez bhi to the saath mein us award main. Has any paper said that? We have to face the truth. Speak the truth. Thats why I love this play - Maulana Azad. He’s speaking his truth in it. He had the guts to stand up and tell people that they’re wrong. We have to do that. If we cannot stand up in a public function and say that Slumdog is a mediocre film, where are we headed; because now Slumdog has now become the… benchmark. And why are Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and Karan Johar saying.. because all they’re seeing is the next fifty million dollar project would come to them. Yash Chopra has lost, going on, two hundred crores of rupees in the last two years as his films have been a flop. ‘Coz he’s been making absolute rubbish. Which is the last film that the great Yash Chopra actually made himself? Veer Zara? I’m sorry, Veer Zara was produced by him but not directed. What was the last film he directed himself? I’m a big fan of his old films. Can anybody tell me? Silsila! When was that made? Bees sal pehle! (twenty years ago) What was the last great film that Subhash Ghai made? That was twenty years ago. What was the last great film that Vidhu Vinodh Chopra made? He made one - Parinda. Bees saal pehle. All these guys - great cinema idols/icons of the Bombay Film Industry, because of the corporate nonsense they got involved in, none of these great guys have actually made films themselves for like twenty years. Yash Chopra has not even made a film. These people are desperate and suddenly Slumdog Millionaire comes on - wow! Its just the same theory that - whats her name - Jitendra’s daughter, Ekta Kapoor - Make mediocrity because its easy to make and its not expensive. Publicize it. Make sure that nothing else can get to compete with it and then walk home with crores and crores of rupees. I am frightened to death that this is whats gonna happen with our film industry after Slumdog. Infact, in the last five years we’ve made some outstanding hindi films. Commercial. Outstanding. But I’m afraid this whole silsila which had started with Lagaan and has gone upto.. well, I would say the latest…of I mean so many films that you can take the name of, but … something like Rock On. This whole silsila is gonna come to a stop because they are all far better films than Slumdog. Just because Slumdog has made money and won awards, people are gonna start making Slumdogs.
We were making films like Slumdogs back in the 80’s. What type of films made Amitabh famous? Slumdog. Twenty five years ago! Its beyond my imagination. And I want somebody who’s worked in that film to have the guts to stand up and say what I’ve just been saying. They all know it in their hearts but will they say? I want Saurabh Shukla or Irfan Khan, brilliant actors, who in this film are bufoons; I want one of them to stand up and say that this film is lousy. But will they do it? No. Taka - all they can see is money.
Sorry, I said I wouldn’t be compassionate about it. I do think its a very dangerous moment in Hindi Cinema, because we’re just coming from a very low moment and in the last 5-10 years we’ve made some absolutely brilliant films. I’m afraid that its all gonna go back to mediocrity and I hope and pray that it doesn’t.

So, well… am glad that I cud find at least one person to say that on media….
Thank you sir!
And btw… if you visit Adel Anwar’s site and read the other question put to Tom, you’d also read how people still… and I mean STILL ask him bout being an ‘angrez’….
The same people for whom SUNEETA WILLIAMS is an INDIAN… the woman born and brought up in America, whose entire family is in America, who married an American, …..ya! her father’s roots are in Gujarat.. (only father’s… her mother is not Indian)…. That was the Indian- ness of Suneeta Williams which got the whole nation crazy….praying, doing havens and wat not!!!

Im sure that, just like I found someone at least one person who agrees that Slumdog wasn’t an exceptional movie, I wud find someone, at least one person who wud say that my darling Indians, Suneeta is AMERICAN…… American as Tom is Indian.

Allah hafiz

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