It seems i am turning into movie reviewer going by my recent posts! Well, in last two days i happened to watch two movie, 'Peaceful Warrior' and 'Slumdog millionaire' as a break from my never ending work. And this post comes with annoyed criticality... if u don't like it please move on to another blog.
While i was not so keen on SM still i went ahead and ..regretted. The way 'Mitr-My friend' was a movie with a woman's eye, SM was clearly a movie with a western eye, spiced with lots of factual errors and manipulated details. When they talk about 'real India', they seem to have 'sampling error', full of exploitative, unjust characters & events. Its not all like that, at least not in small town poor suburbs...i know first hand. On one hand, in the entire movie they almost never found an Indian who is not out to manipulate others... (utterly morbid!), on the other hand there is a western tourist who doesn't let a chance go by, to market America's generosity by giving 100 bucks and saying 'this is real America my son!'. (I found the following real comment on some blog.. "It WAS a great movie... I knew even less about it when I went... Kind of removed my desire to visit India, though. Yipes! ...One of the girls in our church youth group said it increased her desire to visit India "to help solve those problems!") Expect another batch coming to find meaning out of their own lives, by helping victims in far off lands ... Ha!! (sorry, i might be over critical and may be getting unfair too, about some good intentions!) Still, here I am tempted to agree a bit with Francois Gautier's bashing of this movie.
I think that might be one major reason why all my Indian friends felt the movie is mediocre/ average, while my western friends felt its good!
I am reminded of a movie which I would prefer more, on similar issues (if not exactly same)... 'Welcome to Sajjanpur' by Shyam Benegal (if I'm correct). Loved it for its warm depiction of rural India with poverty, politics, relationships, innocence and never-die spirit. Well, if u wanna watch slums & shit for voyeuristic pleasures, even 'Aamir' movie will do.
Oscars are really no tag for a movie's real standards. While I do not watch too many western movies, or too many movies for that matter, I really liked another Oscar awarded 'Other People's Lives'.
On the other hand, Peaceful Warrior is worth repeat watching... i have been going back to some pieces of it, just to get that elevating sense of what all is beautiful and possible in human lives... It takes one to a completely different realm and also has an Asian/ Buddhist Philosophy as the basis. Its inspired by true story of a n American gymnast... and its one movie you won't find real parallels in Indian film industry.
Find it and watch it!