Indian critics praise 'Slumdog Millionaire'
"Slumdog Millionaire" received rave reviews from Indian critics on Saturday after it went on general release across the country, but a more mixed response from audiences.india Updated: Jan 24, 2009 17:08 IST
"Slumdog Millionaire" received rave reviews from Indian critics on Saturday after it went on general release across the country, but a more mixed response from audiences.
The film, which has been nominated for 10 Oscars, hit screens in Mumbai in English and Hindi on Friday amid massive interest and after sharp debate about its portrayal of the seamier, poorer side of Indian life.
Critics in the English-language dailies lauded the movie, which follows a lowly Mumbai teaboy who wins the top prize on the Indian version of the gameshow "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
The Hindustan Times gave the film five stars out of five, describing it as a "masterwork of technical bravura, adorned with inspired ensemble performances and directed with astonishing empathy."
Daily News and Analysis (DNA) gave 4.5 stars, hailing everything from the performances of the child actors and Simon Beaufoy's screenplay to A R Rahman's score, the camera work and Danny Boyle's directing.
All these combined to "elevate this movie experience to a realm that's as close to magical as you can get in the cinemas," its reviewer said, one of many who praised its feel good vibes.
The Times of India also gave 4.5 stars, brushing aside questions about whether it was a realistic portrayal of slum life and instead calling it "just a piece of riveting cinema."
"Forget the Us versus Them debate. Just go for the pure cinema experience," the newspaper said.
At the Mumbai Mirror tabloid, the film was given 3.5 stars but its critic said the rating was "immaterial" as audiences would go to see it because of the publicity and Oscar nominations.
Boyle's film was "exhilarating," it said and almost every shot was "a series of stills worth being framed forever."
Newspapers reported a good turnout for the film on its first day, receiving praise from cinema-goers for the strength of its story, cinematography and music.
Nevertheless, some expressed disappointment, saying it failed to live up to the hype, was not as good as Vikas Swarup's book "Q and A," on which it was based, or that it gave a foreigner's view of India and poverty.
Cinema managers were reportedly expecting attendance to pick up over the weekend, but one highlighted how the film was viewed in certain quarters in the home of Bollywood.
"'Slumdog' is big but it is essentially a Hollywood film," the general manager for marketing and sales, PVR Cinemas, in Mumbai's Juhu district, Joydeep Ghoshroy, was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times.
First Published: Jan 24, 2009 17:02 IST