Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The language of cinema...Slumdog speaks English

This is a short post which I know is my third post on Slumdog Millionaire. Still I thought I must put my two bits. And no, I don't make any money blogging yet, which means no commissions from Danny Boyle.

I just chanced upon an interview of Amir Khan where he said that Slumdog left him cold. One key reason for this was that he apparently wasn't used to seeing Indians speak English in films...especially slum kids or the cop.

I obviously won't even be foolish enough to question Aamir Khan's understanding of cinema. He positions himself as one of our cerebral stars after all. But I don't buy this argument for not liking the film.

The film was not a Hindi film! Do all films need to be in the language of the story/ context? I am sure a million examples can be cited to the contrary. And I am not talking of Tom Alter and Bob Christo.

By that logic, Devdas, a Bengali book shouldn't be made in Hindi especially with the odd atrocious Bengali in the Bhansali version. Didn't the Brits speak an abnormally high amount of Hindi in Aamir Khan's own Lagan? I am told that Khan's latest, Ghajni, was set in Tamil speaking Chennai but was a Hindi film (I have not seen the film).

And by that logic The Reader should be panned because it was in English and not in German!

Liking or disliking a film is a personal choice. But this seems to be a mighty stupid reason.

While on The Reader, I liked the way Kate Winslett switched accents to a more neutral, guttural one there, and an American one in her other fantastic performance in the Revolutionary Road. Remember that her natural accent is British. I think this is where she scored over Dev Patel in Slumdog as he was the only one in the film speaking English in a British accent. Would have been good if he worked on Indianising it

Unless Patel's English it was an intentional play on many of the young folks I hear speaking in a very pronounced American accent in coffee shops of Bandra. Still shouldn't have been British though.

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