Monday, January 12, 2009

Am I surprised by 'Slumdog's......' success...?

You know the answer. But apart from the obvious merits of the movie, it also makes immense business sense for Hollywood to finally acknowledge India's existence.... and indirectly, Bollywood's importance in world cinema. We have had a vibrant film industry for over a hundred years. We have had talent on an international scale for decades. But Hollywood has never taken serious note of our presence in this arena, with the exception of Satyajit Ray and Bhanu Athaiya... and that was aeons ago. Would 'Slumdog..." have garnered this kind of prestige minus Boyle?? Hypothetical question - it would have been an entirely different film. Let us be happy for now. Asking SRK to present one of the Golden Globes is again an acknowledgement of Bollywood's importance. About time, too....
While on Bollywood, I ran into one of my all -time favourite glam gals, Urmilla Matondkar last week.... and I had the best time chattering incessantly in Marathi. We were meeting after several years, and Urmilla looked as luscious as the day RGV spotted her. I watch 'Rangeela' at least once a year just to look at Urmilla and Aamir together. It was refreshing to talk to an older, but no less candid actress than the ingenue I'd met such a long time ago. Urmilla's sense of humour is intact. She is perhaps one of the most intelligent and well- informed actresses in Bollywood. Someone who can hold her own in any company. Put that down to her upbringing - she is a high IQ girl who can laugh at herself as she confesses, " I make fresh mistakes all the time in my choice of roles - but at least they are fresh!" We were joined by the lovely Vidya Balan - another well brought up and cultured actress, with impeccable manners. Plus, a beautiful, discreet mother who does not act like her shadow, but is always around just the same. Let's hope Vidya's new releases do something for her stalled career. The trouble is, her debut was unforgettable - audiences cannot and will not let her walk away from 'Parineeta'. That's Vidya's triumph.... but also a bit of a cross to bear. Ah well.... it was a fun evening. And the girls looked smashing. Baat khatam.


Anonymous said...

Baat khatam.
creative words :)

Rashida said...

I think Vidya Balan has to bear the brunt of being amazing in Parineeta... One tends to get typecast in Bollywood... its the punishment of being awesome!!!

Harshita said...

Well, contrary to your reputation of always pulling down people... you have written some awesome stuff straight frm ur heart here, abt two gorgeous women.

I am glad I did not give-in to the general opinion and followed your blog :)

*Aham* said...

zopadpatti kutta karodpati... peeps into the life of real mumbai... what our directors give us the f. I mean fantasy or a "formula" (read madhur bhandarkar). Kitna pity na, we need a vilaayat ka chorra to come to india and shoot mumbaiin her true lighht.

urmila, is intelligent in real life??? she looks dumb in some of her flicks though...

Yes, Vidya's Mom Saraswati is not jaya chakraborty, who would police her daughter and keep a tab on her. Secondly, Vidya is educated and sauve, an alumni of our alma matter. What fascinates me most is that she fulfilled her TamBrahmical duties of acquiring a postgraduate degreee (in sociology, she is nandini sardesai's student)and then landed in advertisements. So safe a player, with an alternate plan ready. Chat up with Vidya or her Mom and one would be surprised that there could be a thinking breed of Bollywood chokri.

So with urmila, just that her BA degree doesnt reflect on her personalality. If Vidya belongs to thinking Bollywood, Urmi baby belongs to Belly wood.


khush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Goofy Mumma said...

For some strange reason my post has got linked to this post of yours, can you please remove it from your links.

Sarsij said...

I liked your point of view on the success of 'Slumdog......'

nice post

Yasar Khan said...

I still am of the opinion that, Hollywood or the west as whole is still hung up with the "3rd world /poverty face" of India. I also think the most important and overdue honors to AR RAHMAN was delightful to see.

Manish Jain said...

Can we expect an under-dog good film win awards in our own country's awards??? Our cinema would grow by leaps and bounds the moment we start recognising the right talent at the right platforms... Do away with the star systems...

Manish Jain

Raj Walia said...

Last night, I was watching Golden Globe and was really looking forward to A.R. Rehman's nomination. And I almost jumped out of the couch when they announced him the winner. It was a proud moment for me, for him and for One billion people back in India. You made us proud. You have taken Bollywood to a new level. God Bless you!

I personally did not like the subject. Why do you want to show the cruelty and torture? Why these goras (americans, englishmen) like crappy movies? The torture and cruelty stuff? Now, its been nominated at oscars and has already bagged many awards. What is wrong with the world?

Certain parts of this film do become interesting and capture the imagination, like when the brothers landed at the Taj Majal and instantly recognizing a business opportunity, became tour guides and entrepreneurs, stealing shoes, selling them for money, learning to SURVIVE! Amazing how quickly children can become little capitalists.

In first part of the film, kids have acted so good. They stole the show. Thumbs up to them!

But still "Slumdog" is too disturbing to be considered entertainment. Just there is so much of torture and violence in this world, does not mean you can cram it down our throat.

Please STOP. Do not come to India to shoot movies like these. We are much more than that what you think we are...

(New Jersey)

Lubna said...

Baat khatam!! No way...never...Shobhaa De ki baat should never be 'khatam'. We love your articles full of mirch and masala. Yeah! Slumdog success sure is cool but do we always have to get awards for showing only our slums our poverty....India is such a beautiful country so are our people....when would we get to show that and be awarded for it as well I wonder??
You take good care of yourself are awesome and we sure are proud of you...:)

Rajesh said...

Absolute truth Shobhaa, "it also makes immense business sense for Hollywood to finally acknowledge India's existence" Shobhaa De.

Love Peace

Abhinav said...

I just this is the beginning of greater recognition to the industry and some individuals who richly deserve the honors

Ashutosh Raina said...

Dear Shoba,

To tell you the truth, the film is worth watching once - the act by the small boys as well as the big boy is just amazing :)


Ashutosh Raina

Another Kiran In NYC said...

I am going to say nothing about Slumdog and take up Shobhaas bandwidth. Come to my blog and see my point of view in two different posts (my review and todays post).

Urmila is truely "ambat god" chutney (thats sweet/sour in Marathi). Doesnt come off as too smart on screen or interviews, but being that she is a Marathi Mulgi she might well be really, really smart (yeah I am parochial... ha). She certainly adds chamak to the screen.

Vidya Balan is chalega. Parineeta wasnt thespian quality and I havent seen her in a semi decent movie since. Though to be fair, in Parineeta just the fact that Sunjay Dutt was there looking like a thug, made me want to squeeze my eyes shut and I probably missed Vidya's best parts.

Aham, I think perhaps Jaya Chakravarty being herself is the reason that Hema was successful. She did the dirty work and keeping Hema on track, allowing Hema to go from strength to strength looking virginal and like butter wouldnt melt in her mouth.

Ramya Varma said...

Hello Ma'am, Yes I do quite agree with the fact that the west has not in the past recognized us Bollywood to such a great magnitude. All thanks to the economic recession.Its maybe a situation of blessing in disguise. Nevertheless, it was nice to see a good amount of Indian representation in the gathering and some of them even making a mark by winning the awards. I also feel bad for the indian artistes in a certain way because some of such great talented people dont even get recognized by the award panels even in India. They dont get National awards for some of their award winning performances. Sad ..But true. So can we blame the west..Well Maybe or maybe not. ATleast we have won some accolades now..People both in our country and abroad will now look at us seriously. Hope so.

Rajnigandha Shekhawat said...

I have 3 loosly related points to make:

1) People in India who speak English and live in cities very easily forget that 95% of India is infact impoverished and in villages. Hell, i believe some 75% of Bombay's population lives in slums too. Us ignoring that or not admitting to it doesnt take it all away. So if some gora makes a movie on it its because other than us, everyone with a normal vision can see the slums and poverty that we choose to ignore all the time.

2) And when will we get over the excitemnt of a gora giving us awards anyway? I wonder if they care when we try to give them awards...Some music awards tried and failed due to lack of response

3) I agree with Manish - we in our award functions will never give best film or best directors award to Shyam Benegal for Welcome to Sajjanpur. That will go to Rab Ne or Singh is Kingg or Ghajini... Never A Wednesday...

SUKUMARS said...

I liked the THREESOME.
Urmila, Vidya and above all
you Shobhaadi.

sathsih vasudevan said...

you are amazing! above all its you who look asmashing

Maddy said...

Yesterday I watched your candid admission of seeing this movie on pirated CD/DVD.LOL! I am not surprised at your action when I read your previous post( movie review).

Like SRK said ( He wanted to do bollywood dance but the guys sitting there would kick him out)...... the same story would have been taken by our bollywood people in a completely different way and we would be kicked out of the race!!

Being Indians we can only take credit for the Indian stars and the kids who acted brilliantly in this movie and, of course for the musical genius AR Rahman. But the entire credit goes to the Director.

Apart from few Indians like Mira and Kapoor, we need attonboroughs to show the world who is Gandhi and India

romulus said...

and what is all this going to do to the immense state of poverty that inia is in...let me answer my rhetorical question - precisely nothing. the movie is hardly a credit to india so why is there so much fuss. additionally, it is hardly anything to be proud of. it is simply making money on the lamentable situation. i'm no robin hood; but once again the destitute lose meanwhile the rich become richer.

Anonymous said...

Nope ... SM winning has nothing to do with business sense to promote Indian movies etc. Don't think of a conspiracy where there isn't one.

Anonymous said...

""""it also makes immense business sense for Hollywood to finally acknowledge India's existence.... and indirectly, Bollywood's importance in world cinema. """"

You are fooling yourself and all Indians are , if they think that Bollywood has any importance in the western world...C'mon dont be silly Ms De (and all other Indians who think likewise), Bollywood is something laughed at outside of India.. Slumdog is Slumdog coz of Danny Boyle, not Anil Kappor or Dev or Freida.. even SRK's presence was simply to spice it up, not to give Bollywood any importance ...c'mon, it's all Indian exotica which sold, not Bollywood.. Bollywood is tamasha .. purely entertaining, and purely for indians, and some few indophiles .. wake up Ms De.. smell the coffee..

Vyazz said...

Well, I watched slumdog....few days ago. And I believe it just happened to be one of the most insightful films I have ever seen. Nevertheless as far as bollywood is concerned, I do hope they would take note of the type of cinema that really appeals to the public.
People have grown wary of the majority of the mindless comedies and the substanceless dramas it churns out by the dozen.
I suppose industry lacks decent writers.
Nevertheless....on a diffirent note altogether I had'nt realised you had a blog...I merely stumbled onto yours, and if it isi'nt too impertinent of me, would you like to visit my blog,
and let me know what you think. A small request from an amature writer to a successful columist. Thanks.

Maximus said...

I couldn't help noticing how the main protagonist struggles to sink into that "chawlitla porga" role. Why would anybody cast an NRI as a slumdog...which btw way sounds better as "Jhopadi-kutta Crorepati"

Anonymous said...


This is a suggestion.

I suggest you leave spaces of enough girth between the paragraphs.That makes it easy on the eye.

Also, the statistics on your home page is showing some error.

Rest is okay. I was also enthralled by Slumdog! You can read about it on my blog.

Vikas Gupta, Delhi.

KSH said...

Hi Shobhaa. I completely agree with you.

But just this morning, I was gobsmacked to know Big B's criticism of Slumdog Millionaire. And here's what I commented on TOI,

"I think Big B is losing it all. His review speakes volumes of his insecurity and misjudgment. I must give him credit nonetheless for recognizing Satyajit Ray's serious and "real" cinema and its coexistence with mind-numbing Bollywood commercial histrionics.

What he fails to see though is the marriage of the two genres in Danny Boyles superb film, "Slumdog Millionaire". In my opinion, Boyle's story is fantastical but based in real Bombay - the underbelly which has never before been showcased so beautifully and with such optimism in mainstream cinema.

As far as showing India in poor light is concerned, good heavens. Hasn't he seen films like the "City of God" or even the "City of Joy"? Big B rise up and appreciate good cinema instead of taking pride in ludicrous Indian films (like Chandni Chowk to China) premiering in Leicester Square. Pathetic."

And now on TOI online, I read Sanjay Dutt appointed by UNESCO as its goodwill ambassador against malnutrition????

What is the world thinking? I am completely gobsmacked!

R S Prasanna said...

Hi, I am posting a link to my article in my blog, called, "Why I may become a slumdog millionaire quicker because of slumdog millionaire"

Comments and discussions invited. thanks.

Thathy's Diary said...

audiences cannot and will not let her walk away from 'Parineeta'....Thats true.. I have heard alot abt slum dog, god knows...abt the success

maha said...

no surpise ... it is a great sucess..

Work from home India

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