This is what happened to me in the theater this weekend. Well, so to speak. Slumdog Millionaire brought India/Bollywood to America and I sat next to people who loved it as much as I did and I could have squeezed everyone as I exited the theatre (but I did not). I could barely contain myself from sounding like Hermione Granger. "Do you see that interviewer?" I wanted to yell; "That's Anil Kapoor! He's in Tashan, which is awesome, and Welcome, which is hilarious, but he's always the bad guy. And the police inspector? That's Irrfan Khan. He's amazing -- watch the Namesake! You should see Aaja Nachle! Do you hear that song? That's my favorite song from Don -- you should SEE Don! It's 3 1/2 hours long but worth every second." Again, by some miracle, I was able to avoid such an outburst.
What was amazing about the movie was that it was not a typical Oscar-worthy film. It didn't make me want to tear my own eyes out from sorrow. It didn't make me turn away from sticky, overdone gore. It was a suspenseful, clever, poignant, brilliant love story. It's the story of a young guy from the slums -- which makes him a Slumdog -- who, when the film opens, is winning India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But the hero isn't interested in money; he wants to find a girl. He and Latika were separated when they were children, and he's spent his life trying to find her again. He's hoping the sensation he creates on the show will draw her to him.
The movie is about family, colonialism, caste, poverty, prejudice, and perseverance. Well, WHAT are you doing still reading this blog? You should be seeing it right now, for heaven's sake. And be sure to stay for the credits. You wouldn't want to miss the dancing.