Wow, What a journey !
What a spectacular J O U R N E Y ! The rise of Jamal Malik from the scuzzy and slimy scum of human excreta , in the filthy slums of Mumbai , to win the two- million rupees from the reality show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' , is a journey that not many will opt for . It is incredible but true. This is GOOD.
Jamal is an orphan. He is a slum-dweller. He and his elder brother Salim , along with many other boys share the same poignant destiny. Each hour is a struggle for these indigents, these innocent flowers , doomed to dwindle in destitution. Each day they struggle to fend for food. When our gluttonous children are guzzling over burger and pizza, these impoverished children are hanging from the train upside down to steal a 'chapatti ' only to be thrown off the train . This is their life. This is BAD.
But, Jamal khan is a survivor . He has survived . In the daily struggle in the wild world, he survived - sometimes due to his sheer dumb luck, sometimes due to his presence of mind. He survived when the police 'lathicharged' innocent people. He survived the terrible riots , having witnessed some graphically barbaric molestations and subsequent deaths. He survived the devil's touch when the devil was turning sweet, innocent slumkids into beggars.And Jamal survived the police torture when he was wrongly arrested , at the pretext that he had fraudulently qualified for the contest and answered the questions correctly by cheating. For indeed how can a slumboy know so much?
But Jamal Malik knew. He knew all the answers by dint of his first-hand experience. This was BAD then. This is GOOD now.
Jamal Malik's elder brother, Salim Malik did'nt survive. He had seen too much muck in his life to accept his sordid fate and relinquish in penury. He , the elder brother, the saviour of his younger brother - later got astrayed, for he chose to give his destiny a run for money. So , in his short span of adulthood he bartered his poverty for money at the cost of his morality. The protector , becomes his tormentor. This is BAD.
Jamal's childhood friend Latika, who too has grown in the slums , is separated from him , when they run away from the devils .They cannot rescue her. Yet Jamal pines for her. She is sold to a brothel at a very tender age. But LOVE triumphs in the end after many pitfalls. This is GOOD.
I don't know much about Danny Boyle except that he has directed in theatres, television, and now directs movies , some of his 'must -watch' movies being 'A LIFE LESS ORDINARY' , 'SUNSHINE' , '28 DAYS LATER' AND 'SHALLOW GRAVE'. His next assignment is 'PONTE TOWER' about a girl who falls prey to drug-peddlers in the Apartheid-ending era of Africa. He indeed is an artist beyond demographical boundaries.
But I realised that he was an extremely sensitive man to portray this saga of LIFE in it's sheer starkness. At the same time it is ironical that it needed an Englishman to bring out the bitter truth of Mumbai's underbelly in so breathtaking a manner ! I also do not know why the hue and cry about the movie . Why do we fail to acknowledge the truth? For the truth is, Mumbai's 15 - 30 percent of GDP does come from beggary ! This is BAD, very BAD.
Unless the truth is accepted, falsity will reign. Unless reality is grasped, change is impossible. IT's about time we accept that we need to eschew our moral-depravity.
It's time we wake up to awareness ! It's time we educate our poor. So that twenty years from now when English -men make movies of our land, on our land, we do not feel vilified or cringe due to embarrassment.
When I left the theatre I had to exclaim," Wow, what a movie !".