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it's out destiny
Monday, May 11 | 10:46 AM

It's our destiny.  This sounds so cliche.  It's almost like saying, our fate is written in the stars.

But Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire was indeed destined to sweep this year's Oscars and the movie certainly lived up to the hype.

I'm a late bloomer.  I catch my movies real real late.  Having watched the action-packed Journey To The Centre Of The Earth yesterday at my friends' swell movie room, I decided to go for something a little from sombre from Mumbai.

Slumdog reminds me of Anita Desai's A Village By The Sea and this other movie about a boy and his very worn-out school shoes (I cannot recall the title), which also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film a few years back with its rag-to-riches set plot.  

It wasn't overly sentimental, thankfully.  Don't you just hate those dramatic tear jerkers that do nothing more than pound (not tug, mind you!) at your heartstrings and they just bring out more of the cynic in me.  Operating on flashbacks intermingled with the protagonist, Jamal, on the hotseat of the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the movie threads through the slums of India, the harsh reality of homeless child beggars and syndicates and everything we read in the news or watch on television but remain calloused to.  Now it reminds me of the other award movie set in some part of South America (Brazil?) about young street gang members.  There are no pretenses.  No condescending camera tricks that discriminates the impoverished or condemns the thugs.  Every scene and nuance will facinate your senses .     
So life is shitty like young Jamal above taking a pot while discovering the arrival of a famous Bollywood star nearby.  The humour which weaves alongside the revelations of Mumbai through the boy is what keeps the movie from drowning in a pool of sentimental muck.  

And of course, the love element that holds it all together.  Jumal searches for his long lost Latika and gets reunited with her in the end (I assume most of us have seen this movie!).  I was glad that the movie closed with their lips meeting and not some 20 seconds liplock gymnastics like in most Hollywood movies.   Although I did squirm at the two lines uttered by Jumal and Latika when they meet in Gone With The Wind style - man sweeps lover off his feet upon reunification;  I avoided watching the latter like a plague, mind you.  I would prefer just a long loving gaze, some tears and a bear hug and a kiss; surely that would suffice.  But this is Hollywood afterall.  You do need to end with a climax, a bang to celebrate the underdogs.  A big cheer to the possibility that dreams do come true.  Sometimes.

I have like a stack of movies to catch up on while I am overseas.  The reason why I chose Slumdog over others is that I wanted to see and breathe the harsh realities of life, apart from the slums of Manila, out there before I embark on a shopping mania past noon in GZ.  I hope that would stop me from impulsive purchases.  I hope I would return to Singapore with more focus in life.  I hope I can recapture the zeal and passion I had years ago - idealistic it may be, but it was the zest that brought true inner happiness.  

Slumdog Millionaire truly delivers.      

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