Monday, March 2, 2009

See Slumdog Millionaire, No Matter What Rushdie Says

Salman Rushdie is a brilliant author, but he's apparently a bit deficient in irony. He recently criticized the plot of the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire as a "patently ridiculous conceit". The conceit? That a boy from the slums of Bombay could have an incredible series of experiences in which he learned precisely those facts he needed to win on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". Unlikely? Of course. But "patently ridiculous"? Mind you, this two criticism is from an author whose most celebrated novel begins with two men who survive their jetliner exploding 35,000 over the English Channel, and who won the Booker Prize for a novel whose protagonist has telepathic powers by virtue of his superhumanly runny nose.

Postscript: If you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire, please do. It's easily the best movie I've seen in several years.


5 comments:

Bruce Gee said...

Yeah, I guess. Look, I really liked the movie. It is just that, one third of the way through I guessed how it would end, and that's how it ended. My daughter's comment: "It was a little too Hollywood for me". We discussed how it might have been altered: he gets the girl but not the money? Hmm. I could have lived with that.

What did he do with that big check? I kept thinking it was in his hip pocket.
Nevertheless, a clever plot. Your take on Rushdie's complaint was very good.

You've read Salman Rushdie? Well, I suppose that's in your job description.

belle (a pilgrim soul) said...

I've never really understood the complaint that movies are too cliche, or 'too Hollywood.' You paid to sit in a huge theatre and eat popcorn and stare at a screen. What else did you expect?
Agreed: it was predictable, and a little bit of painful realism never hurt anyone.
But at the same time, if he hadn't gotten the girl or the money, I would have felt like the movie was completely pointless.

But what do I know, I'm just a post-teen romantic :P

Evan said...

I'm with Belle. Particularly for a movie that toys with the Bollywood tradition, it has to have a happy ending. And I really liked how the while ending was foreseeable, exactly how they would get there wasn't, leaving some dramatic tension there.

I actually first read Rushdie when I was in India, as Midnight's Children was recommended as one of the best fictional introductions to that country (and it does not disappoint!). My snide remarks aside, I really do love his writing. "Fantasy" doesn't even begin to describe it. Phantasmagoria is probably a better descriptor.

Elephantschild said...

Oooo - sounds like a good read. ::runs off to add it to her Amazon list::

The movie will have to wait, sadly.

Kristina said...

I do also love Rushdie, he is one of my favorite authors hands down.

- I also find it ironic that he views Slumdog as "patently ridiculous" given his prevalant use of magical realism.... I guess he think supernatural occurrances are less ridiculous than a happy/optimistic ending.

Although, given how the love stories in most of his novels end, that's probably exactly what he thinks.