Slumdog millionaire: some critical perspectives

Well, we have had enough of rave reviews of the film. Here are two critical reviews which I found interesting. Sudip Mazumdar’s Man Bites Slumdog is an absorbing autobiographical account of a former slum dweller-turned-successful journalist. He concludes as follows: Slumdog was a hit because it throbs with excitement, hope and positive energy. But remember an ugly fact: slums exist, in large part, because they’re allowed to exist. Slumdogs aren’t the only ones whose minds need to be opened up.

Amiya K Samanta in this article, says in spite of its technical excellence none will perhaps commend that the film has succeeded in reaching a certain level of artistic height. The story line is rather weak and often banal. Technical excellence and a somewhat unorthodox way of story telling have rescued the film from being a flop, the author says. The author’s comparison of the film with Arvind Adiga’s White Tiger is refreshing.

Update: Pritam helpfully sent this review by Arundhati Roy in Dawn newspaper.

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  • Sudip Mazumdar’s article is quite refreshing. I have lived a significant portion of my life in Jamshedpur and have spent many summer vacations in Ranchi and Patna.

    I have been to these poor areas and saw the unhygenic neighborhoods. But I was never able to comprehend why such situations exist. It was mostly my lack of understanding but used to blame it on the non-hygenic practices of the people.

    What is interesting in Sudip’s piece is a more elaborate description of what slum people face and why they take certain decisions. I liked this para:

    “But it’s no such thing. Slum life is a cage. It robs you of confidence in the face of the rich and the advantaged. It steals your pride, deadens your ambition, limits your imagination and psychologically cripples you whenever you step outside the comfort zone of your own neighborhood.”

  • Arundhati Roy has a hard look at slumdog in the Pakistani Newspaper Dawn (1/03/09). The article stems from a justice and politics argument. The point on the slums being used as a landscape and thus de contextualising poverty is especially interesting.