A moo point, basically …

Arbit/ Random

Atonement-Slumdog mish-mash

with 2 comments

NB: This post contains spoilers for the book Atonement and for the recent ‘Indian’ movie Slumdog Millionaire. Also, it will most probably not make sense if you haven’t read the former (which I strongly recommend) and seen the latter (which is not a bad choice either).

Atonement‘ by Ian Mckewan has got to be one of the best books I’ve read. It has a wonderful, languid style of describing thoughts and landscapes, and yet manages to keep the story fairly tight. The book is essentially told through the eyes of a twelve-year old girl called Briony, and it describes the epic tale of her sister and her friend/ lover/ neighbour who get caught in a cruel chain of events with the Second World War as an imposing backdrop.

Slumdog Millionaire‘ by Danny Boyle is a decent movie which narrates a tale of love and destiny with the great slums of Mumbai as the primary backdrop. Watching the movie, I got the feeling that it was nothing spectacular, and could had in fact been much better.  and

I can see why the movie has been widely appreciated by a non-Indian audience. It has a lot of astonishing/ striking things which might not seem that odd to someone who has stayed in India all his/ her life but would certainly pique the interest of someone foreign. It’s more or less the same reason why I liked the movie ‘Cidade de Deus’ (City of God) so much. Slumdog, however, is NOT that awesome a movie. It is most certainly NOT the 34-th best movie of all times (at the time of writing) as indicated by the IMDb rankings. Rehman’s music in the movie, while pretty decent without a doubt, is NOT his best by any stretch – (Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, Swades and Taal come to my mind immediately). The acting is ok, but definitely NOT Best-Actor material: the lead actor perpetually oscillates between shock and anguish.

My favourite part in Atonement (and I don’t know whether it’s there in the movie since I haven’t watched it yet) is right at the end, when a now-senile Briony hints (Again: Spoiler Alert!) at the possibility that perhaps, all that she has described in the preceding chapters might not really be accurate – maybe what she has narrated with great conviction might not have happened at all. But she sincerely believes it to be so true and inevitable that she convinces herself that it is, in fact, the truth. And you don’t really care that you’ve just been cheated out of a standard conclusion to a book with all the makings of a classic.

Now imagine if the creators of Slumdog had incorporated this into the ending – Jamal keeps on telling how he was destined to know the answers (which is a roundabout way of saying he was quite lucky), but just before the movie ends – he reveals that maybe the crap which he dishes out to the police officer as explanation might not really be true.

That would had been an awesome movie – maybe not a feel-good awesome one, but a whoa!-awesome one for sure.

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Written by sujaybedekar

January 20, 2009 at 5:54 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Then it would have been the usual suspects part 2.

    Amrita

    January 22, 2009 at 10:59 am

    • Indeed!
      And then, it would had no longer remained a movie about Indian Mysticism and all that. But it would had been a nice watch nevertheless, no?

      sujaybedekar

      January 22, 2009 at 11:34 am


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