Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Night with Slumdog

I watched "Slumdog Millionaire" last night. I enjoyed it. I actually stopped playing poker while it was on. My favorite movies are usually teen oriented like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "Clueless", "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", and "Risky Business." I also like action movies like "Rambo", "Die Hard", "Lethal Weapon", and "The Terminator." This movie though did keep my attention.

I'm sure that those who watched the movie were upset by the conditions for children in India. What I noticed was that, although there was poverty and extreme filth, it wasn't all bad. The kids did seem to have a lot of fun , adventure, and excitement. Those that survived learned to take care of themselves and deal with adversity. India is the first or second fastest growing country in the world. We used to think of it, especially in my hippe days, as this horrible, backwards country, where material existence was sacrificed for spiritual development. Today India seems to be combining Western and Eastern values to produce a successful balance.

The most interesting part of the movie for me was the transcendent love affair of Jamal for Latika. It is only under the most difficult conditions that a love like this can exist. A love that overcomes all challenges, setbacks, and seemingly impossible conditions to ultimately triumph is inspiring. The dreamer believes in happy endings. The cynic thinks they probably ended up fighting and hating each other.

What is true, though, is that the ability to imagine the existence of a love that overcomes all obstacles , by itself, points to man's higher nature. Also, the brother after a life of crime and corruption was willing to sacrifice himself to see true love prevail, and his brother happy. The cynic sees this as "Hollywoodish". The dreamer believes that good triumphs in the end . It is easy to see truth in both points of view. What is hard is to live without being attached to either point.

The question of religion was not an issue in this movie. It seemed that the main characters were muslim, although in the book the hero's identity was left intentionally unclear. His name in the book was Ram Mohammed Thomas a combination of Hindu, Muslim and Christian. There also was no political or ideological viewpoint being expressed in "Slumdog." It was a move that presented the essence of twenty-first century Western game show, "let's made a deal", consciousness uniting with a five thousand year old culture of raw survival. I think that shows some creativity.

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